Emirates takes delivery of first Airbus A380

Emirates will fly its first A380 to Dubai on Tuesday, becoming only the second airline in the world to operate the double-decker Airbus aircraft, dpa reported.

Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus, presented the superjumbo to Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, at a ceremony here on Monday.

"Emirates was quick to recognise the potential of Airbus's all new A380 design, with its large double-deck capacity and excellent operating economics," said Shaikh Ahmad. "It will be one of the pillars of Emirates's future."

Emirates is the largest customer for the A380, with 58 aircraft on order. On Monday, the airline also ordered 60 new wide-bodied planes from Airbus in a deal worth $13 billion at list prices. Shaikh Ahmad signed a letter of intent with Enders for 30 A330-300s and 30 A350 XWBs.

The airline said the acquisition will support its widening international route network.

The huge A380 arrives at Dubai International Airport this afternoon. Its spacious and luxurious cabin features 14 first-class suites and 76 business and 399 economy-class seats. Adding to a new luxury standard in the skies, first-class passengers will be able to take a shower at 43,000 feet, the airline said.

Emirates's first A380 commercial flight will be on August 1 from Dubai to New York, making the Dubai carrier the first to use the superjumbo commercially in the US. The flight, which is fully booked, will take between 12.5 and 13 hours, compared to 14 hours on a Boeing 777.

Emirates is the second airline to operate the A380, following Singapore Airlines.

Shaikh Ahmad said future A380 routes will be to London, Sydney and Auckland.

"Fulfilling the A380 dream has required vision, innovation, a lot of courage and determination," said Enders. "Emirates shared in this vision early on and today the result is the world's most modern, innovative and eco-efficient aircraft ever built. The A380 is changing the way people travel," he said.

The A380 programme has suffered from delivery delays and cost over-runs.

Emirates is creating new levels of luxury onboard with the First Class Shower Spa. There will be two bathrooms with shower facilities in its First Class cabins.

Emirates also unveiled its Onboard Lounge. Located in the Business Class cabin for use by First and Business Class passengers, the lounge is designed to make passengers feel like they are in their own executive club, the company said.

Another First Class social area and bar is located at the front of the upper deck.

Emirates said passengers will also notice a difference in the Economy Class cabin, most notably the straight walls. These give the impression of increased spaciousness. A mood lighting system is installed to reduce the effects of jetlag.

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