Emirates has internally revealed some updates regarding how they’ll staff flights, which could — at least in theory — see A380s operated with just four flight attendants.
Emirates resuming limited service
Initially they’ll operate a very limited number of flights between Dubai and Europe using 777-300ERs — they’ll fly cargo in both directions, while they’ll primarily only sell seats on the flights out of Dubai.
Emirates will be operating limited flights to Europe
As the company describes these flights, they’re “carrying commercial passengers on cargo missions,” so these are primarily cargo flights, but will still be available to passengers.
Emirates has fixed pricing for these one-way flights to Europe — 2,500AED in economy, and 5,000 AED in business class.
What’s equally interesting is how Emirates will be crewing these flights.
How Emirates is staffing Europe flights
There are some things that are interesting about how Emirates will be staffing these flights to Europe, which is different than normal for the airline:
- The flights to Europe will all be operated as same day turns for the crews, so they’ll have long days; there will be fewer flight attendants than usual, while there will be two cockpit crews (two captains and two first officers)
- The planes will have a first class cabin, but it will be blocked off for crew, so they have bathrooms that they can use, etc.
- Emirates will be staffing one of the A380 shower attendants on every 777 flight, who will be responsible for constantly cleaning the bathrooms onboard
- When crews return to Dubai they’ll be given a COVID-19 test, and they can only fly again after their test comes back negative
Emirates is putting shower attendants on 777s
New minimum staffing guidelines
Emirates is significantly reducing staffing on flights, which makes sense, given that there will be greatly reduced service for the time being.
They’ve established new staffing guidelines for both A380s and 777s. Let me once again emphasize that for now A380s aren’t being operated regularly, so the new A380 staffing guidelines aren’t particularly significant yet, but may be down the road.
How Emirates is staffing A380s
While I’m not sure we’ll actually see this happen, what’s interesting is that with the newly published guidelines, Emirates could operate an Airbus A380 with passengers with a total of just four flight attendants.
The number of flight attendants depends on how full the flight is, broken down by both lower deck and upper deck.
For the A380 lower deck:
- If there are one to 88 passengers, four flight attendants are needed
- If there are 89 to 223 passengers, six flight attendants are needed
- If there are 223 to 347 passengers, eight flight attendants are needed
- If there are 348 to 427 passengers, 10 flight attendants are needed
For the A380 upper deck:
- If there are one to 58 passengers, four flight attendants are needed
- If there are 59 to 76 passengers, six flight attendants are needed
If the upper deck is empty, there won’t be any flight attendants
Again, this is highly theoretical, but this means that if there were only a few dozen passengers booked on the lower deck, and no business or first class passengers, the A380 could be staffed with just four flight attendants.
A more likely scenario is that there would be four on the lower deck and four on the upper deck, which would still only be eight flight attendants.
But even on the higher end, normally Emirates has 23 flight attendants on an A380, while with a full load they’d now only have 16 flight attendants.
It’s worth noting that this reduced staffing comes with specific conditions:
- With reduced staffing, passengers need to be seated in certain areas, so that they’re near an armed evacuation door (with four flight attendants on the lower deck, the first and second set of doors would have crew members, on both the left and the right)
- Under some circumstances we could even see pilots having to sit in a jumpseat during takeoff and landing, since flights are being staffed with extra pilots, but fewer flight attendants
Emirates is greatly reducing A380 staffing
How Emirates is staffing 777s
Emirates usually staffs 777-300ERs with up to 14 flight attendants, while now they’re limiting it to 10 flight attendants. The minimum staffing depends on how many passengers there are:
- With up to 14 passengers, four flight attendants are needed
- With up to 102 passengers, six flight attendants are needed
- With up to 234 passengers, eight flight attendants are needed
- With up to 352 passengers, 10 flight attendants are needed
777s could be staffed with just four flight attendants
Definitely file this more under “interesting as an avgeek” rather than “actually important” (but as I’ve said many times, I think the former stories are generally more interesting than the latter stories nowadays).
Emirates is greatly adjusting how they’re staffing flights in light of the current situation, and they’ve established guidelines that could see A380s with very light passenger loads operate with just four flight attendants.
I’m not confident we’ll ever see that actually happen, but that sure would be fascinating/eery.