Emirates scored a double whammy today as two of its A380 super jumbos jetted off from Dubai to the opposite ends of the globe, marking the aviation world’s first A380 commercial services to Bangkok and TorontoThe launch of Emirates’ A380 operations - daily to Bangkok and thrice weekly to Toronto - signals a new era of luxury air travel to Thailand and Canada, and represents yet another milestone in the airline’s A380 programme.
EK 372 took off from Emirates’ new home, Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, at 09:40 hours* carrying 488 passengers. It landed to a festive welcome by the Thai government at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 19:00 hours.
EK 241 departed Dubai with 458 passengers and will be the first commercial A380 jet to touch down on Canadian soil at 15:45 hours.
Senior management from Emirates flew on the two inaugural services. On arrival in Bangkok and Toronto, the A380s will be unveiled to local media, travel trade and key government officials.
The A380 is the world’s only twin-deck airliner that has 35 per cent more seats than its closest rival. It is the most environmentally-advanced commercial aircraft in the sky today, offering better fuel economy than most hybrid passenger cars. The A380 burns up to 20 per cent less fuel per seat than today’s next largest aircraft, and is quieter, generating less than half the noise of other aircraft on takeoff.
Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline said: “Emirates is delighted to celebrate its inaugural A380 services to Thailand and Canada today. The aircraft with its large capacity and excellent operating economies is a pillar of growth, both for the airline and the destination. In Thailand, the introduction of the super jumbo will support the local government’s multi-million dollar promotional drive to boost tourism arrivals from the high-yield Middle East region. At the same time the higher-capacity A380 will help address the strong demand for passenger and cargo services on the Dubai-Toronto route which is currently restricted by the bi-lateral agreement to three flights per week.”
Hailing the arrival of Emirates’ A380 as a positive development for Thailand’s tourism industry, Mr. Chaisak Angkasuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Thailand said: “We are delighted Emirates selected Bangkok as the first Far East gateway for its revolutionary A380 product. Our current marketing and trade campaigns focus on promoting Thailand as an ideal holiday destination in the Middle East. Travellers from this region make multiple visits to Thailand, staying on an average nine days and spending over USD 500 million annually. We welcome the opportunity to partner with Emirates to grow the tourism potential from this region.”
Despite the current economic environment, the Middle East continues to deliver positive year-on-year growth of 5.7%. Tourist arrivals from the UAE alone rose by 99.46% for January 2009 compared to the same period last year.
Lloyd McCoomb, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) said: “The GTAA is honoured to be part of this historic day. We are pleased that this route has proven so successful for Emirates and we are very excited to welcome the A380 to Toronto Pearson. This is exactly what this airport was rebuilt for - to allow for new and larger aircraft that will be the future of the airline business.”
Mr. Clark added: “With air travel due to triple in the next 18 years and constraints on traffic rights and airport slots to continue, larger capacity aircraft such as the A380 are key to Emirates’ plans to meet increasing passenger demand. We have ordered 58 A380s and each one of these has been carefully planned for our present and future requirements. Our next A380 destination will be Seoul on 1st December, and will represent Emirates’ first A380 service to North East Asia.”
The Emirates’ A380 - with 14 First Class Private Suites, 76 Business Class and 399 Economy seats - represents the latest innovation and technology from a company recognized internationally for its in-flight amenities and services. Unique to the Emirates aircraft are its Shower Spas - two fully-equipped bathrooms in the First class cabins with shower facilities. Emirates A380’s ground-breaking in-flight product also features an Onboard Lounge for First and Business class passengers which includes a bar with a wide range of beverages and canapés as well as an exclusive space to socialise or simply relax.
A380 passengers enjoy an elaborate menu created by top international chefs and complemented by the finest beverages. Emirates’ award-winning ‘ice’ (information, communication, entertainment) in-flight entertainment system offers more than 1000 channels of on-demand entertainment, the largest programming currently available in the skies. Each cabin is equipped with an advanced mood lighting system, complete with a starlit sky, which adjusts throughout the flight to reflect the time at the destination and to help combat the effects of jet lag.
First class passengers relax in flat-bed, massage-equipped suites while Business class passengers 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.