(DENNIS B MALLAR)
Emirates airline will use its new super-jumbo Airbus A380 (pictured above) on the Dubai-New York route from October 1 next year, according to the industry’s global booking system. The 500-seater aircraft is scheduled to take over on the EK201 and EK202 flights to JFK Airport on that day, fuelling speculation Emirates has chosen New York as the aircraft’s first destination.
Emirates, which has 58 A380s on order, has hinted in the past Sydney, Melbourne and London Heathrow are frontrunners for the Airbus launch. But industry website Air Transport Intelligence reported yesterday the Airbus is listed on the Amadeus reservation engine, used for bookings by airlines and travel agents around the world, for the New York route from October 1, 2008.
Emirates is keeping its Airbus launch a closely guarded secret. A spokesperson told Business 24|7 yesterday: “Emirates can confirm it will deploy the A380 on the JFK route in the next fiscal year. “However, as our route schedules have not yet been finalised, this listing does not suggest JFK will be Emirates’ first commercial route for the A380.”
Emirates executive vice-chairman Maurice Flanagan said at the Dubai Airshow last month the airline was “still thinking about” where it will launch its Airbus fleet.
Emirates placed the largest aircraft order yet at Dubai Airshow, for $34.9 billion (Dh128bn) to buy 93 aircraft from Airbus, with an option for 50 more. The airline is now the seventh largest in the world, according to new figures from the International Air Transport Association, flying 16.7 million passengers in 2006.