Published on April 18th, 2016 | by Jim Lee0
Emirates to add two additional A380 aircraft as route network grows
Emirates, which already operate the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s, with 76 in service and a further 64 on firm order, announced on 13th April, that it had placed an order with manufacturer Airbus, for an additional two new A380 aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered in the 4th quarter of 2017. The additional two aircraft, to be powered by Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, will take Emirates’ total A380 order book to 142. The 76th aircraft, Airbus A380-861, A6-EOX (c/n 208), was delivered on 13th April, from Hamburg Finkenwerder to Dubai.
Commenting on the order, Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “From now until the end of 2017, Emirates will retire 30 older aircraft from our fleet. At the same time, to meet our growth expectations, we will receive delivery of 24 new Boeing 777, and 33 new A380 aircraft including these two additional A380 aircraft just ordered. This is in line with our strategy to operate a modern and efficient fleet and offer the best possible experience for our customers.”
He added: “We’ve always been open about how the A380 has been a big success for Emirates. It’s a boon for our operations to slot constrained airports and we get a lot of positive feedback from our customers. In fact, demand from customers for our A380 product is growing, as we expand our A380 network and more travellers have had the opportunity to experience it first-hand.”
Airbus estimates that Emirates’ A380 orders support the employment of 41,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Europe. About 70% of these jobs are split equally between France and Germany, with the UK having 17% and the remaining 5,000 jobs in Spain. These are high-skilled jobs and impact a high-value supply chain, creating a significant multiplier effect in the countries where Airbus has aircraft production facilities.
The two new aircraft will be in two-class configuration and features 58 flatbed seats in Business Class and 557 spacious seats in Economy Class, as well as Emirates’ popular OnBoard Lounge, where Business Class passengers can socialise at 40,000 feet (12,192 metres). The newest version of the Emirates’ A380 features the widest individual in-seat Economy Class screens in the industry, measuring in at 13.3 inches (338 mm), as well as Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment, ‘ice’, with over 2,500 channels and free Wi-Fi. Currently, the two-class configured A380 flies to four destinations including Copenhagen, Bangkok, Manchester and Kuala Lumpur. You can have a look at the two-class A380 video below.
Commencing 27th March, Emirates began a daily A380 service to Birmingham and soon Prague, Taipei and Vienna will become destinations on the Emirates route network served by the aircraft. With these additions, the airline will have 42 destinations across the globe served by its flagship A380 aircraft.
Statement from Emirates on Dublin’s new runway announcement
Although Dublin has been mooted as a possible A380 destination for some time, obviously the airports infrastructure would be an important factor in any such decision. It is not surprising therefore that Emirates was quick to respond to the announcement by the daa on 7th April, in relation to the new runway at Dublin Airport. In a statement, Enda Corneille, country manager for Emirates in Ireland said:
“This is a welcome development and in our view a necessary one to accommodate the growing number of passengers at Dublin Airport, particularly from the East. If Dublin is to also accommodate larger aircraft and act as a serious hub for Europe, Transatlantic and Middle Eastern connections it undoubtedly needs a new, longer runway.
Emirates alone carries up to 22,000 customers each month between Dublin and Dubai and other important inbound tourism markets such as Australia and the Far East. Its launch in Ireland in 2012 contributed to the increase in traffic at Dublin Airport, with which we have a strong working relationship.”
Over the summer, Emirates will continue to operate the Dubai-Dublin route as a twice daily Boeing 777-300ER service. This is the same as last summer and a continuation of the winter schedule. The morning service, the EK161/2 arrives in Dublin at 12:05, having departed from Dubai at 07:15 (local). It departs Dublin for Dubai at 13:50. The evening service, the EK163/4 arrives in Dublin at 20:25, having departed from Dubai at 15:30 (local). It departs Dublin for Dubai at 22:25 and after an overnight flight, it arrives in Dubai at 08:50 (local). There is a three hour time difference between the two airports and the flight time for the 3,675 miles (5,914 km) varies between 7:25 and 7:35.
Emirates currently has 128 Boeing 777-300s, the latest being Boeing 777-31H, A6-EPL (c/n 42331), delivered on 15th April. It has an additional 13 Boeing 777 freighters and 16 Boeing 777-200s, giving a total of 157 of all models.
Emirates extends online check-in to 48 hours before departure
Emirates had earlier announced that it had extended its online check-in to 48 hours before departure, from 24 hours, effective from the end of March. Customers can also check in online on both desktop and mobile devices from 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure. The increased lead time offers customers greater flexibility in choosing their seats, and reduces waiting times at the airport as they would already have their boarding passes before arriving at the airport. Passengers can then drop their luggage at online check-in counters before heading straight through to immigration and security. For flights to and from the United States, while online check-in is available 48 hours before departure, boarding passes will only be issued 24 hours in advance.
The earlier check-in window will also enable more seamless communication with customers should there be unexpected flight delays or disruptions. For members of Emirates Skywards, the airline’s frequent flyer programme, the extended check in time will also mean better availability of upgrades.
In addition to online check-in services, the airline also operates car park check-in facilities around the clock at its hub in Dubai. Customers can choose to check in and drop their luggage at the car park check-in facilities from 24 hours to six hours prior to departure easing the crowds during peak travel periods. Alternatively, customers travelling out of Dubai can choose to drop their luggage at one of the 46 dedicated bag drop counters in Economy Class or separate counters in First Class and Business Class at Dubai International Airport from six hours to 90 minutes prior to departure. An additional 10 bag drop counters are available in the dedicated USA flight check-in zone. As a result of these initiatives, customers can look forward to shorter queues at the various check in and bag drop points.
“We have always taken into account feedback to improve the customer journey and the extension of online check-in is a result of that” explained Alex Knigge, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Marketing & Brand (Digital). It is one of many features on emirates.com that aims to improve the customer experience. Another feature is the recently introduced ‘Hold my fare’ option, which gives customers the opportunity to hold their reservations and lock in competitive Emirates fares for a nominal fee. This feature has now been extended to 72 hours and is another example of “the many initiatives we are implementing to enhance our customers’ experience online” he added.
Saif al-Suwaidi, the director general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, has confirmed that the Gulf state had requested access to two fifth-freedom services over Budapest. Such an arrangement could open the door for Emirates, to provide flights to the United States as an extension of its daily Dubai-Budapest service, although the airline has indicated that it has “no immediate plans” for such operations.
Without naming the destinations being discussed, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, added: “We are prepared to provide this freedom and will conduct the required procedures rapidly with both the Emirates and the European Union.” He added: “This could contribute to the given airline using Budapest as a regional hub, and finally put an end to the state of affairs according to which Budapest is the last major city in Europe not to have … (year-round) direct, transatlantic flights.” Emirates opened a call centre in the Budapest two years ago, employing 300 people
New York is home to a large number of Hungarian expatriates, so it is an obvious choice for fifth-freedom services. Hungary has lacked nonstop US services since 2012, when American Airlines withdrew from Budapest following the collapse of its partner Malév Hungarian Airlines. Toronto, another centre for Hungarian expatriates and currently the country’s only transatlantic link, is served by Air Canada and Air Transat, and is another possibility.
However, routes to the United States risk reigniting a row there where the ‘Partnership for Open and Fair Skies’, a lobby group representing US aviation interests, has claimed that Gulf carriers including Emirates have received significant state aid over the past decade. Fifth-freedom flights have proved controversial in the past because of the indirect market access they provide. Emirates’ only other fifth-freedom transatlantic passenger service – Milan-New York, launched in 2013 – was the subject of an unsuccessful legal challenge by Alitalia, who operate daily flights on the route, as does Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines. Emirates accounts for almost one-third of capacity in the market however, as it deploys its Airbus A380s, on the route. Delta has complained that Emirates’ Milan-New York flight is typical of the exploitation of air treaties by Mideast carriers to tap passenger flows unrelated to their home countries.