Monday, February 2, 2009

Emirates Expands Its A380 Global Network

DUBAI, U.A.E., 2nd February 2009 –Award-winning Emirates Airline notched up yet another first today as it operated the world’s first A380 commercial service from Dubai to Australia and New Zealand. Sydney and Auckland became the third and fourth destinations to join Emirates’ rapidly-expanding A380 network.

Taking off from its new home - Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport – EK 412 operated by Emirates revolutionary A380 aircraft arrived in Sydney and flew onwards to Auckland, carrying onboard 400-plus passengers from UK, Germany, Malta, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, amongst other nationalities. Emirates will operate its A380, dubbed ‘a premium hotel in the sky’, from Dubai to Sydney and across the Tasman to Auckland every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The service will progress to a daily, effective 1st May 2009.

Advancing Emirates’ environmental programme, today's A380 service also heralds a new era for flights Down Under, a green best-practice demonstration flight, and the use of the world's most eco-efficient commercial airliner on the Indian Ocean for the first time.

All three measures are being deployed to cut fuel burn and emissions on flights to/ from Australia and New Zealand as well as reduce journey time for passengers. The per seat fuel burn on the Emirates’ inaugural A380 flight is expected to be 20 percent less vis-à-vis the normal flights.

EK412, the first commercial flight of an A380 over the Indian Ocean, is also the test flight for a longer-term green flight initiative involving the Air Navigation Service Providers of Australia, the UAE, Oman, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives working with Emirates and other airlines to pioneer best environmental practice over the world's third-largest oceanic region. The programme will officially commence in the first half of 2009.

Richard Vaughan, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, East Asia and Australasia noted: “The start of A380 services on this route represents yet another initiative in Emirates’ partnership with Australia and New Zealand. Emirates is not only committing to offer a revolutionary in-flight experience to travellers from these countries but is also enhancing capacity on the route – a welcome news to tourism authorities of both countries as they seek to attract increasing number of visitors from the Middle East.”

Despite a challenging global economic environment, visitors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) visiting Australia are expected to grow by 8% this year and by 15 % in 2010, according to a forecast by the Tourism Australia Aviation and Economics Team.

In its last annual study, Tourism New South Wales recorded close to 30,000 overnight visitors from the region, representing 43.3% of its total visitors and a 32.9% increase from the previous year’s study. Already, Emirates is carrying over 50% of all Gulf tourists visiting Australia. The airline’s robust network in the Middle East and North Africa comprises 194 flights per week to 16 key gateways.

“The growth in Emirates’ seat capacity by over 40 % is expected to encourage above-average growth of visitor arrivals and support both countries’ marketing efforts in the region,” added Mr Vaughan.

In a move aimed at facilitating travel, New Zealand signed a visa-waiver agreement with the six member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Trade benefits will also accrue as the Middle East is a valuable market for New Zealand products including wool, dairy products, meat, manufactured goods and services. At the same time the region is an important source for New Zealand’s crude oil, polymers and fertilisers.

The new service will also benefit Australians and New Zealanders travelling to their preferred cities in Europe and the Middle East, and will facilitate a seamless A380 experience from Auckland/Sydney to Dubai and onwards to London Heathrow – an important route for travellers from both countries.

The Emirates’ A380 sets a new milestone in environmental conservation, offering better fuel economy per passenger mile than most hybrid passenger cars. The aircraft’s environment credentials were further strengthened with today’s green flight that effectively employed new technology and multi-government co-operation to create ultra-efficient flexible routings and minimise fuel burn.

To maximise its environmental efficiency, EK 412 adopted the following measures:Priority departure from Dubai and an unrestricted climb from UAE Air Traffic Control to ensure optimal fuel burn.
Flexible, ultra-efficient routings over countries and their air space such as Oman, the Maldives and India.
Dynamic re-routing to allow for weather changes, particularly high-altitude winds, to save journey time and emissions.
Arranged with AirServices Australia to allow a continuous descent arrival to ensure fuel is saved and noise is minimised.
Arranged with Airways Corporation of New Zealand for the continuation of the green initiatives on EK412 between Sydney and Auckland.
Emirates and Airways New Zealand used the concept of User Preferred Routes to further reduce fuel and emissions over the Tasman.

Post arrival in Sydney and Auckland, Emirates kicked off a series of familiarisation tours aboard its superjumbo. Emirates’ A380 has received glowing reviews from passengers and the travel trade with its onboard Shower Spas, yet another industry first, that offer a whole new dimension of luxury air travel.

Emirates onboard lounge for First and Business Class passengers is an exclusive space to stretch your legs, relax, socialise or simply catch up with business. Designed to make you feel like you are in your very own executive club, its bar is stocked with a varied and enticing selection of beverages and canapés.

Set in a three-class configuration (14 First, 76 Business and 399 Economy Class seats) the Emirates A380 offers a level of comfort and space never seen before on a commercial airliner. Spread over two levels, the whole of the upper deck is dedicated to Premium Class passengers. Towards the front, First Class passengers can relax in flat-bed, massage-equipped Private Suites. Business Class passengers can enjoy a new generation of intelligent seating designed to ensure all 76 flat-bed seats have aisle access.

Passengers in Economy will appreciate the straight walls throughout the cabin that lend to a more spacious ambience, enhanced further by generous seats and wider aisles.

Emirates bespoke and award-winning inflight system ‘ice’ (information, communication and entertainment) offers over 1000 channels of on-demand entertainment - the largest selection of programming in the skies.

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