Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bangkok to host new megajet A380

Published: 21/03/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

Suvarnabhumi Airport will start serving the Airbus A380 megajet on June 1.

Airbus employees at the manufacturing hub in Toulouse, France send off an A380 to Emirates last year.

Emirates Airline has confirmed that it will be the first carrier to operate the world's largest commercial passenger jetliner through Bangkok's new airport.

Other international airlines that have either ordered or deployed the aircraft - including Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa - have yet to announce definite plans to make Suvarnabhumi a port of call for their A380s.

Emirates aims to simultaneously introduce the double-decker A380 on routes to Bangkok and Toronto.

The debut comes as the Dubai-based airline takes its A380s off its daily flight from Dubai to New York's JFK airport due to weakened traffic demand.

The airline will instead run the route with the smaller Boeing 777-300ER, cutting capacity by 132 seats.

One of the two A380 planes on the NY-Dubai route will be redeployed to the Dubai-Toronto flight and the other to the Dubai-Bangkok route.

On the Toronto service the A380 will enable Emirates to address unmet need. On the Bangkok route it will support the Thai government's new tourism initiatives, Emirates president Tim Clark said in a statement.

The superjumbo will replace a Boeing 777-300ER on one of the daily services between Bangkok and Dubai (incoming flight EK 372 and outgoing EK 373). Switching to the A380 will increase capacity by about 30% on both this service and the Dubai-Toronto route.

The new services will also support popular transit markets. With the A380 now flying to London Heathrow, UK tourists travelling to and from Thailand can enjoy a seamless A380 experience. For Canada, the change means increased access to Dubai and the Gulf region, Emirates said.

Emirates' A380 can carry 489 passengers and features luxurious facilities such as onboard shower spas, onboard lounges, flat-beds, massage-equipped private suites in first class and a new generation of intelligent seating and flat-beds in business class.

From June 1, Emirates will operate five A380s on the following routes: Dubai-London Heathrow (daily), Dubai-Sydney/Auckland (daily), Dubai-Toronto (three times weekly) and Dubai-Bangkok (daily).

The airline will take delivery of another four A380 aircraft from the European planemaker Airbus into its fleet in the 2009/2010 financial year and has announced it will introduce services to Seoul in December.

So far, Emirates has ordered 58 A380s at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. The company describes them as an essential part of its expansion plans.

The Dubai-New York route was the first where the A380 was introduced, in August 2008.

Emirates has been operating in Thailand for more than 18 years. It currently operates 21 flights per week to Dubai, seven flights per week to Hong Kong, and seven flights per week to Sydney and Christchurch.

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