Emirates airlines’ superjumbo jet landed in the Philippines for the first time in about six years on Wednesday.
The iconic A380, dubbed as the world’s largest passenger plane carried more than 400 travelers from Dubai to Clark International Airport, about 100 kilometers from the country’s capital of Manila.
The one-off large passenger flight comes as demand for outbound trips from the Gulf has surged throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as thousands of expatriates who have lost jobs are looking to return to their home countries for good.
It was the first A380 commercial flight to land at Clark International. It was also the first double-decker aircraft that Emirates flew to the Philippines in about six years.
The UAE-based carrier has recently resumed operations in the Philippines to serve customers flying between Dubai and Manila, Clark and Cebu. Flights to Manila operate daily since June 11, while flights to Clark run six times per week starting August 1. The airline’s first trip to Cebu since the lockdown is scheduled today, August 20.
Demand for flights on the route is currently high, as thousands of expatriates in the UAE look to be repatriated back to their home country. Several expats, still with jobs in the UAE, have also been stranded in the Southeast Asian country since the lockdown.
According to Consul General Paul Cortes at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, Filipino expatriates in Dubai continue to seek their assistance to be able to return home for good during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to receive requests for repatriation from [Filipinos] and we reiterate the DFA’s (Department of Foreign Affairs’) commitment to assist all overseas Filipinos who have submitted their requests to allow them to return home,” Cortes said on Twitter on Wednesday.
Emirates has been transporting passengers to and from the Philippines for three decades.
The flight took off from Dubai International Airport at 2:40 am and landed in Clark at 3:23 pm local time, and was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute upon arrival at the airport.
The A380 has resumed regular operations to five destinations so far, including London Heathrow, Paris, Cairo, Guangzhou and Toronto.
In 2014, the airline made a one-off trip to Manila, marking its first arrival in the Philippines.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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