By Andy Sambidge
Dubai airline says it has now flown 7 million passengers in superjumbo since 2008 debut
Emirates Airline on Friday became the first foreign carrier to offer an A380 service to Germany with the launch of flights to Munich.
The double decker will operate as EK 049, one of two daily flights from Dubai to Munich and among the airline’s 60 flights a week to four gateways in Germany including Munich, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt.
Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ executive vice president, Passenger Sales Worldwide, said: “After gradually building up services to Germany since 1987, Emirates is responding to strong demand by bringing its flagship aircraft to one of its most important markets, adding much-needed seat capacity and stimulating further tourism and trade between Germany, the UAE and beyond."
More than 1,000 spectators were expected to gather for the landing in Munich, where the giant 489-seat aircraft - under the command of German Captain Fritz Wildt - was set to receive a water cannon salute.
Michael Kerkloh, CEO of Munich Airport, added:“Emirates’ decision to operate its flagship Airbus A380 on one of its two daily flights from Munich to Dubai represents yet another acknowledgement for the airport.
"The fact that this airline, which is successful on all continents, is relying on Munich for part of its expansion plans, is clear evidence of the excellent future prospects for this Bavarian air traffic hub."
Emirates is the largest A380 operator in the world and has now carried more than 7 million passengers since the superjumbo was introduced to its fleet in August 2008.
The airline’s A380 operations are supported by more than 2,500 dedicated cabin crew and 362 pilots.
The carrier’s 17 A380s now serve Munich, London Heathrow, Manchester, New York, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Bangkok, Seoul, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Rome will be the next A380 point from December 1 followed by Kuala Lumpur effective January 1 2012.
Germany plays a significant role in the production of Emirates’ highly efficient double-deckers.
Specialist companies across the country contribute to the aircraft’s engines, wings, entertainment system, lighting and Onboard Shower features. Final finishing work is conducted in Hamburg before the superjumbos are formally handed over.
The A380 production line is part of a multi-billion Euro trade relationship between the UAE and Germany, assisted by Emirates’ SkyCargo, which operates 11 weekly freighter flights to Germany.
Emirates has a fleet of 162 aircraft flying to 116 destinations and has a further 243 planes on order worth over $84bn.
This includes the additional 50 Boeing 777s ordered during the recent Dubai Air Show.