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Emirates Reveals First 9 Destinations for New Airbus A350



Skift Take

The Emirates A350 is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated aircraft launches. We now know when it’ll make its debut and which cities will see it first.

Emirates is famed for its extravagant service onboard its current fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s. It’s therefore little surprise that expectations are high for its incoming A350s – an aircraft that has been years in the making.


On Monday, the carrier confirmed not only when the plane will make its debut, but also where.

Emirates’ first A350-900 is due to make its maiden flight this September. An initial roster of nine global destinations will be served, with Dubai to Bahrain the very first route to see the new jet. From September 15, Flights EK839 and EK840 between the two cities will be A350-operated.

At a distance of just 263 nautical miles, the aircraft will be in the air for less than an hour. Emirates says a second-daily A350 service will ply the route from November 1 as more aircraft are delivered.


It is common for airlines to introduce a new plane type on a ‘soft launch’ basis. This typically includes flying shorter routes to bolster crew familiarization. It also offers the company a chance to iron out any teething issues before the plane flies more complex long-haul services.

First Destinations for the Emirates A350

After Bahrain on September 15, a further eight cities are due to be operated by the A350. On September 16, a day after the Bahrain inaugural, Emirates’ daily EK853/4 from Dubai to Kuwait will join the A350 club. 

Looking further afield, India will be the first country outside of the Middle East to see the new plane. From October 27, the A350 will fly from Dubai to both Mumbai and Ahmedabad (operating Flights EK502/3 and EK538/9). 


Things ramp up further from November 4, when the plane makes its European debut. 

Emirates is not only restarting its Edinburgh route but is doing so in style, by rostering its newest plane. The Scottish capital is due to rejoin the network after flights were suspended during the pandemic. Edinburgh is the last UK city to return to the airline’s post-crisis route map. 

A Flurry of December Launches

As the busy holiday season approaches, Emirates is adding three further A350 destinations.


From December 1, the French city of Lyon, Bologna in Italy, and Oman’s capital Muscat switch to the new plane. Information about which specific services are operated by the A350 can be found on the Emirates website. 

The final A350 destination announced so far is Colombo in Sri Lanka, with one of four daily frequencies served from January 1.

How Many A350s Will Emirates Have?

Emirates expects its first 10 A350s to join the fleet before the end of March 2025. Further destinations are due to be announced in the coming months. 


All of the initial set of 10 planes are planned to serve short and medium-haul cities. These aircraft have a three-class setup, with 32 “next-generation” business class seats, 21 in premium economy, and 259 economy options.

The company has a further 55 of the European-built jets on order. A separate deal for dozens of the larger -1000 variant is believed to be under negotiation.

The developments come just days after Air India brought its A350 to Dubai for the first time.


The recently privatized airline is in the middle of a five-year transformation plan that promises to bring Air India back to its world-class glory. One of the key metrics for success is removing the need for so many Indian passengers to transit through the Middle East.

Speaking at the Skift India Summit in March, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said this would give passengers “a much faster, much more convenient, much less emissive way to get from A to B.”

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What am I looking at? The performance of airline sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.


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