Emirates to fly one-off A380 service to Gatwick in March

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Gulf carrier Emirates will perform a scheduled passenger flight of an Airbus A380 into London Gatwick on 24 March to test the Sussex airport's newly completed A380 facilities.

The airline was unable to confirm the exact timing of the service from Dubai, but says the flight is intended as a "one-off".

Gatwick has been developing two stands at the Western end of pier 6 at its North Terminal to allow air bridge-served access by the super jumbo. Construction and testing work was completed by the airport in late February, it says.

Although A380s have used the airport before - including an Emirates flight in 2012 to celebrate the carrier's 25th year of operations at the site - they have been disembarked at remote stands in the north-west of the airport.

The March flight will be the final test for the newly completed pier, as Gatwick looks to tempt airlines to provide regular A380 services.

Emirates presently flies its 498-seat A380s on the Dubai-London Heathrow route, serving Gatwick instead with 370-seat Boeing 777-300ERs.

The carrier has a fleet of 31 A380s in service with a further 59 on order. As the fleet expands it is looking for new destinations for the type.

On 25 March, it flew a one-off service to Barcelona El Prat airport, what it claims is the first scheduled A380 flight to Spain. The super jumbo service will also operate on 1 March, it says.