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Thu 23 Jul 2009 04:34 PM

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Few takers for Emirates’ A380 business seats - CAPA

Business travel segment has crumbled with no recovery in sight.

Few takers for Emirates’ A380 business seats - CAPA
A380 WARNING: CAPA says business travel demand has fallen. (Getty Images)

An aviation body has warned that carriers operating A380 aircraft, such as Emirates Airline, face further drops in demand if they continue targeting business travellers.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said on Thursday that the business travel segment, which most A380 operators are focusing on, has crumbled with no recovery in sight.

“The very issue of capacity is a critical one for airlines amid the global economic recession. Latest data from around the world shows airlines continue to fail to align capacity with demand,” CAPA said.

“As a result, yields are under considerable pressure and airlines are having to re-think their aircraft configurations.”

Emirates Airline is one of 16 carriers in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East with a combined order for 200 super-jumbo A380s. The Dubai carrier already has five A380s in operation, having ordered 58 of the planes in 2007.

Of the 489 seats on Emirates’ A380s, 76 are business class with a further 14 for first class passengers.

The carrier was thought to be unhappy with its first four A380s after experiencing technical difficulties. In March, German media claimed Emirates had given a 46-page document to A380 maker Airbus, listing its complaints including engine defects, missing cabin fittings and burned electric cables.

At the time, an Emirates spokesperson was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying: "We had a routine meeting with Airbus to discuss aircraft delivery positions down the line. Like all airlines, Emirates continues to assess all options for its fleet and route operations."

The weekly publication also said the airline was seeking a delay in deliveries due to financing difficulties. The airline’s chief executive Tim Clark has since admitted Emirates’ deliveries may fall behind schedule in 2011.

In June, the airline removed two A380s from its New York service less than eight months after deploying the aircraft on the US route. It cited a “change in capacity demands” for the redeployment. The planes are now operating to Toronto and Bangkok.  

London Heathrow, Sydney and Auckland are also served by the double-decker aircraft, with flights to Seoul and Paris scheduled to carry the A380.

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Jon 11 years ago

When you consider you can get a business class seat to London on Virgin for 9,500 dhs versus the Emirates A380 price of nearly 18,500 dhs from Dubai - it's little wonder they will have difficulty filling the plane. Oh, and Virgin has a lounge bar on board...

John Thomas 11 years ago

Not only is the Business Class terribly overpriced in comparison to all other airlines, the seats are atrocious - absolute nightmare - flew the A380 to NY on Business Class, got there with an unshakable headache a sore back and feeling like I was hit by a truck, I have never had such uncomfortable seat in Business Class. The trip would have been more comfortable on a camel's back - what a shame what they did to that amazing aircraft. And if Emirates does not come down to reality on the business class fares - good luck tothem even selling 5% of the seats... I or my Company will certainly not use them...

Omar 11 years ago

There is nothing to justify such high prices on Emirates. I would never fly business class unless paid for by someone else i.e. company / client / invitation. I would not fly Emirates economy unless it's the same or cheaper than other carriers. Maximum, I would be ready to pay 10% extra to fly Emirates! but not 50%-100% more! That's crazy. Are they offering us Diamond aboard?!Greed is beyond limits. Emirates must realize that the global economy has completely changed and thus, must reduce prices esp. for upper classes!15% discount is not enough at all!

skyobserver 11 years ago

EK have opted for all business on the upper deck versus Singapore airlines with a mixed upper deck of business & economy which has meant that SQ have less capacity in business to worry about during these tough times ........ too exuberance in the planning by the headmaster T.C. Lark!!

Chris J 11 years ago

I am a frequent traveller with EK. A recent quote to travel to Australia on EK gave a quote of nearly 21000. Thai quoted 12500 AED. Malaysian and Singapore were both much cheaper that EK. With the reduction in service levels in recent times on EK because of over recruiting and insufficient training, the airline must appreciate that we have options and will not pay the ridiculous prices that it is asking. Three years ago I was making the same trip from Dubai for less than 7000 on EK! Greed is definitely bad!

Vinod Verma 11 years ago

Utter rip off. All that matters to me is reaching safely, thank God for these ever increasing budget airlines.

Ron Brinkman 11 years ago

I was so dissappointed with the business class seating in the A380, that I have vowed to fly any other airline that does not use the A380. The business class is like upper economy class. The flight from London to Dubai meals were still not served after 2 hours from take off. Their are too may people in the business class section so you are not treated with a priority and does not allow you to have a good peaceful sleep on the flight. Now I have transferred most of all my business flights to Etihad Airlines.

bob 11 years ago

Is possible those head honcho's at EK have their heads stuck in the same place as their planes i.e. in the clouds?! There or somewhere else. Either way they're clearly not in touch with their customers. Highest fares, smallest seats, worst service!

Greer 11 years ago

Yes I have to agree with the overall sentiment here. Last week I checked prices for BKK to SYD flights for 3 adults and 2 children. The quote frm Emirates was double the others I received! I used to fly EK all the time when I lived in Dubai and even for a couple of years after, but they have recently totally lost the plot.

alex comerford 11 years ago

Originating out of the UK Emirates are one of the cheapest airlines for business class. Personally I also find the a380 business seats are far better than BA, Qantas or Virgin if you pick the ones with the extra legroom which are nowhere near the lounge bar which one poster clearly didn't find.