This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A few weeks ago, we reported how a pilot shortage is forcing Emirates to cut flights. During the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, airline group CEO Tim Clark told reporters that the airline would be short-handed by about 100 to 150 pilots.

Emirates has generally tried to downplay the situations, with Sir Tim saying that the airline is “a tad short in pilots” but that the pilot numbers should be “alright by September or October.”

However, unconfirmed reports paint a much bleaker picture: the airline plans to store 46 aircraft, due to a drop in demand as well as a pilot shortage. Emirates operates a fleet of 253 total aircraft, consisting solely of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s. Storing nearly 20% of the fleet would be a massive reduction in capacity.

While that number, 46 aircraft, is not confirmed, our research shows that Emirates aircraft are starting to fly en masse into storage. Over the last five days, five Emirates aircraft have landed at Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) — which is primarily a cargo airport at this time — and haven’t left.

Arrival at DWC (local time) Aircraft Type Tail Number Seats
02 May 12:47 PM Boeing 777-300ER A6-ENZ 360
02 May 12:09 PM Airbus A380-800 A6-EDL 517
30 Apr 2:40 PM Airbus A380-800 A6-EEZ 519
29 Apr 12:28 PM Airbus A380-800 A6-EOO 519
27 Apr 1:03 PM Boeing 777-300ER A6-EGZ 360

Source for flight and aircraft location information: FlightRadar24. Source for seating capacity: PlaneSpotters

These five new additions join other Emirates aircraft already on the ground at DWC, which include at least:

Arrival at DWC Aircraft Type Tail Number
1 Apr 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EMT
27 Mar 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EGF
4 Mar 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EBI
1 Mar 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-ENU
28 Feb 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EGO
26 Feb 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EBL
26 Feb 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-ENT
25 Feb 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-EGS
30 Jan 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-ECT
16 Jan 2018 Boeing 777-300ER A6-ECP

Source for flight and aircraft location information: FlightRadar24.

There could be a simpler explanation for some of these aircraft being on the ground at DWC. Perhaps Emirates is performing retrofits or maintenance checks on some of these aircraft. However, the sheer number of aircraft currently at DWC seems disproportional to normal operations. TPG contacted Emirates about this situation but has not received a reply at the time of this publishing.

What does this mean for travelers? If you’re flying Emirates soon, prepare for potential schedule changes due to reductions in frequencies. Some destinations that have multiple flights a day could see reductions in the number of flights per day, while once-daily flights could become 4-5x weekly flights. That said, this seems to be coming at a time of light demand for Emirates. So, the reductions in frequency might just increase the loads on flights rather than requiring that passengers be bumped.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Earn unlimited 10x miles on hotel stays booked and paid through hotels.com/venture. Pair that with the Hotels.com Rewards program and you'll essentially be getting 20% off of hotel bookings! With the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus you can get up to $700 in value based on TPG's most recent valuations and you'll have the flexibility to transfer those miles to participating airline partners or redeem those miles on any purchase for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Balance Transfer Fee
$0
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.