Emirates'A380 service to Manchester a bold move

Just when airlines in Europe thought they could see clear skies ahead, Emirates airline stepped in last week to remind them just how turbulent competition in the aviation sector can be. The jolt Emirates provided was announcing that it would begin A380 services to Manchester from September.

The A380 is supposed to a hub-to-hub aircraft linking the world's megacities but Emirates wants to use it on a daily run to provisional England. Manchester will become the first regional airport in the world to get A380 services.

This is a bold move by Emirates because filling an A380 is a challenge in any city but it is a logical extension of the airline's ambition to turn Dubai into a global transfer hub. Many of the Manchester passengers will be visiting Dubai for its sunshine and resorts but many others will be on their way to destinations in other parts of the world.

In the past these passengers might have travelled with British Airways via Heathrow or Lufthansa via Frankfurt. Emirates, however, is determined to give them another choice and putting an A380 on the Manchester to Dubai route is an attempt to divert even more traffic via the Gulf.

This, of course, is exactly why Emirates bought 58 of Airbus's double-decker aircraft but Manchester is really the first time we will see this strategy in action because the A380 has so far been used mostly into crowded or restricted airports such as Heathrow or Toronto.

The bad news for rival airline bosses is that Manchester will not be the last regional airport to be connected to Dubai by this monster aircraft.

 

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