Emirates airline said on Wednesday it will deploy its A380 aircraft on its service between Houston and Dubai, increasing capacity on the route currently served by 777 aircraft.
The carrier in December 2014 upgraded the route to an Airbus A380 service, but later, in July 2016 stopped deploying the A380s and used Boeing 777-300ER aircraft instead.
In a statement, Emirates said the decision to resume A380 services was in line with commercial demand, with the energy sector recovering and playing a large role in Houston’s resurgence.
Deploying the A380 would increase capacity per flight by more than 160 passengers compared to the Boeing 777, with a total of 516 seats on the three-class A380. The upgraded flights are EK211 and EK212.
The UAE’s government is already looking at Houston’s energy sector, and more broadly America’s, as a trade opportunity.
In December 2017, Rick Perry, the US Secretary of Energy, met with his Emirati counterpart, Suhail Al Mazouri, to discuss expanding ties in areas of conventional and unconventional oil, gas, coal, and liquefied natural gas (LNG), among others.
The two ministers said that the growing US LNG exports could provide an option for an additional source of gas supply to the region.
“In [the] future, there will be a huge requirement for LNG, and definitely the growing exports from the US will find opportunity in the Middle East as well as in the UAE,” the UAE’s energy minister said at the time.
The move by Emirates to resume the A380 service also follows other decisions by the Dubai-based airline to return to increasing its capacity on routes to the US, having cut some in 2017 because of weaker demand following the electronics ban and visa restrictions imposed by the US.
The carrier earlier announced it will be launching a non-stop Dubai-Newark service from June 1, and will resume daily services to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from March 25.
Houston will join more than 40 destinations that Emirates serves with its flagship A380 aircraft. These include Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Kuwait, among others.
Emirates launched its inaugural flight to Houston in December 2007, and has since carried nearly two million passengers on that route.