PHOTO: The National.

LONDON — Dubai-based carrier Emirates has announced today that they will be deploying a one-off Airbus A380 service to Islamabad on July 8. The Airbus A380 will operate flight EK2524/EK2525 which will depart Dubai at 0800 local and arrive into Islamabad at 1210 local, with the return departing Islamabad at 1540 local and arriving back into Dubai at 1745 local the same day.

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“We are proud to bring our flagship A380 aircraft to Islamabad, and we look forward to showcasing our innovative products onboard this iconic aircraft with the signature Emirates service. While this is a special flight, we are very keen to launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan and will continue to work with authorities to realize these plans,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Centre at Emirates.

The Airbus A380 used on this service will be the one with the two-class configuration in it, offering 58 seats in Business Class in a 2-4-2 configuration as well as 557 seats in Economy in a 3-4-3 configuration respectively. Emirates has operated out of Pakistan for over 30 years, with the first flight landing in Karachi on October 25, 1985. Emirates since then has expanded their operations in Pakistan, offering flights to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Sialkot, and Multan.

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Pakistan is a big market for the carrier’s loyalty program, known as Emirates Skywards, which has over 400,000 Pakistani members using the exclusive privileges of Skywards. The carrier currently has 104 A380s in service, with 58 pending delivery. The airline also has an additional 36 A380s on order for a list price of $16 billion.

Emirates has been covering a few one-off services across the Middle East and Asia in recent months, with the previous one-off service being to Muscat. Emirates is obviously doing these one-off flights to determine where the A380 can go next. The airports are then tested to see whether they can take such operations sufficiently meaning that at the likes of Muscat and Islamabad, we could see more A380 operations out of those airports in the future.