Has it really been ten years? On 1st August 2008, Emirates launched its first Airbus A380 from its home of Dubai to New York’s JFK airport – a 13-hour flight which would herald in a new era of passenger comfort and luxury. No other airline has done so much with the world’s largest passenger aircraft – becoming by far the largest operator of the double-decker. it’s fair to say that the A380 is synonymous with Emirates.
Since that inaugural flight, over 105 million passengers have flown on over 115,000 A380 flights, covering some 1.5 billion kilometres – or to put it another way, that’s the same as 39,000 trips around the world. Today, the Emirates A380 flies to 49-cities in 6-continents around the world.
With 104 of the huge aircraft already in its fleet, Emirates dwarfs other A380 operators – and there are more to come. Saving the A380 programme with an all-important order earlier this year, Emirates has 58 of the aircraft still on order in a multi-billion Dollar deal which will continue to shape global aviation for years to come.
“It’s been 10 extraordinary years since the first Emirates A380 flight took to the skies, and today it has become one of the most recognisable and admired aircraft in the world,” explained Emirates’ President, Sir Tim Clark.
“Passengers love to fly it because of its spaciousness which provides more comfort across all classes, and its iconic products like the OnBoard Lounge, Shower Spa and First Class suites have redefined air travel,” Sir Tim explained, while also hinting at “new innovations that will continue to ‘Wow'”.
Those innovations could include a Premium Economy cabin which Sir Tim has already committed the airline to install – a work in progress which should be introduced in several years time. Then there’s the ‘Game changer’ First Class fully-enclosed suites which were first introduced on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft – although, modifying the product for the A380 is said to be a very expensive task.
Speaking of expensive modifications – when Airbus first touted the A380 to airlines around the world, it sold the aircraft on the space that could be used for all sorts of passenger-friendly improvements. But it was Emirates that really pushed the boundaries of what people considered to be possible.
Sir Tim has previously spoken of how so-called experts said he wouldn’t be able to put a shower or onboard lounge and bar in his airline’s A380’s. How wrong they were – the idea to install the luxe additions have turned the Emirates A380 into an icon and have wowed passengers for the past 10-years – and no doubt, for years to come.
And for now – Emirates really will continue to operate the A380 for years to come. With the airline’s latest order worth 16 billion USD, Emirates says it is supporting around 41,000 jobs in Europe alone. The carrier estimates that its investment has contributed something in the region of €3.4 billion to the European economy.
It looks like the passenger-pleasing A380 won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon!