CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND — After over three years, Emirates' flagship A380 today touched down at Christchurch Airport today, signifying the return of its daily service from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney.

Spectators at Christchurch Airport witnessed the iconic aircraft's arrival, complete with a ceremonial water cannon salute, before it parked near trade, media, and VIP guests at the international terminal.

The outbound EK412 departed Dubai at 10:15 local time, made a brief stop in Sydney, and arrived in Christchurch at 13:55 hours the following day, New Zealand time.

Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia, Emirates, on the first flight back to Christchurch, stated that the A380's return is significant for the city, marking its reconnection to the world. He emphasized the strong customer response to the service.

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger and Christchurch Airport CEO Justin Watson expressed their enthusiasm for the resumed A380 service, citing its positive impact on local businesses and tourism.

The resumption of the Dubai-Christchurch route is part of Emirates' plan to increase seating capacity across its global network. The airline has already increased operations by 31% since the beginning of its financial year. The A380's return to Christchurch also benefits South Island producers, with SkyCargo supporting daily exports of 15 to 18 tonnes across the Tasman.

Both North and South Island customers now have direct access to daily Emirates A380 services, offering enhanced flexibility and choice for travel plans and improved connectivity to other global destinations, including Europe and the Middle East. The A380 flight, operating as EK 412 and EK 413, will also debut the Premium Economy cabin and the latest products across all travel classes.

Emirates has served New Zealand for 20 years, maintaining daily flights and SkyCargo services throughout the pandemic. Customers traveling to and from Christchurch can enjoy the A380's spacious cabins, signature features, and award-winning inflight entertainment system. The airline's A380 currently operates on nearly 40 global routes, with more to be announced soon.