United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Emirates Airline has taken delivery of its first two-class Airbus A380 as it makes final preparations for the type’s debut into scheduled service from December 1, 2015. The airline, the largest customer for the SuperJumbo, is introducing the higher density configuration to meet demand trends on some of its busier routes.
The aircraft, A6-EOP, was handed-over to Emirates at the Airbus Finkenwerder production facility in Hamburg on November 4, 2015 and ferried across to the airline’s Dubai International Airport base. It will join a 67 strong fleet of the type and although identical from the outside will offer up to 20 per cent more seats on the inside.
Emirates has been operating the A380 since December 2008 and its current fleet has a variety of different configurations, albeit all with a three-class offering. These all have a 14-seat First Class and 76-seat Business Class cabins but with variations in Economy layout subject to operational requirements and mission length (for example the addition of crew rest areas). This ranges from seating 399 to 429 passengers providing total capacity from 489 to 519 seats.
The new configuration removes the First Class cabin (and the showers) onboard an unspecified number of new Super Jumbos it has on order to boost its capacity offering. In the new configuration the A380 is capable of carrying 615 passengers across its business and economy cabins – accommodating 58 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 557 seats in Economy Class.
The new arrangement will initially debut in the final quarter and will enter service from December 1, 2015 on both the Dubai – Bangkok and Dubai – Copenhagen routes, and will also serve Dubai – Kuala Lumpur and Dubai – Manchester from January 1, 2016.
Emirates currently has scheduled A380 flights to 34 destinations around the world and has carried over 47 million passengers on the type since its entry into service. Its current fleet has visited 56 airports, flown over 630 million kilometres, and made 47,200 return flights.
Alongside its scheduled routes, the next ‘new’ destination to host the aircraft will be Sao Paulo in Brazil with Emirates operating a one-off service with the type on its route from Dubai on November 14, 201 to mark the airline’s eighth year of operations in Brazil, which it began with daily flights between Dubai and Sao Paulo in October 2007.
“The A380 is an iconic aircraft that continues to excite both our customers and aircraft enthusiasts, and therefore we decided to take it on a one-off service to Sao Paulo to celebrate our eighth anniversary. As Emirates is a global partner of Formula 1, we also wanted this historic flight to coincide with the Brazilian Grand Prix taking place on the 15th November at the Interlagos motorsport circuit,” said Orhan Abbas, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Latin America, Southern and Central Africa, Emirates Airline.