Dubai’s national airline Emirates has now commenced double daily Airbus A380 frequencies to New York and Paris, adding significant extra capacity on both routes. Growing demand for long haul travel to both destinations from around the world, and in particular from the airline’s African destinations, combined with the growing number of A380 actually delivered by Airbus, have made these added deployments possible. Emirates now operates already 31 of these giant aircraft, with a further 59 on order and to be progressively delivered this year and in coming years, and the new dedicated A380 terminal in Dubai, due to be opened in a few weeks time, will ensure that connecting passengers can expect not just to fly on the most comfortable aircraft in the skies but also get a ground handling experience second to none. Concourse A as it will be known on opening, purpose built over the past years, will be the world’s first dedicated A380 terminal handling nothing but these types of aircraft. Extending over 650 metres in length and 90 metres wide, the new facility covers over 530.000 square metres over 11 storeys. Hotels and shopping malls will be part of the new supersized building which is connected to Terminal 3, another dedicated Emirates terminal, by a metro link.
Emirates sales personnel have in recent weeks specifically highlighted the airline’s all wide body fleet, used to fly to their East African destinations, and then allowing passengers to switch from the A330’s, A340’s and B777’s to the giant A380 to ever more airports around the world. It is thought that this is a market specific response to other Gulf competitors and other major airlines like Turkish using single aisle aircraft for their flights to Africa which in-flight experience, compared to a wide body aircraft, is often considered inferior, that being true or not but nevertheless fueling a marketing battle or sorts.