Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Emirates launches A380 service between Dubai and Mumbai; DFW-DXB to follow

Emirates, which operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s, has placed the super-jumbo jets into service on the route that connects Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the U.A.E., to Mumbai, India.

An Emirates A380 in flight
Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) was one of the first destinations on Emirates’ network when it began service in 1985. With the addition of the A380s to the route, it becomes the 29th destination served by the super-jumbo jet.

“Dubai and Mumbai share a rich tapestry of partnerships, business and culture,” Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean said in a statement issued in conjunction with the commencement of service.

He noted that Emirates has flown over 42 million passengers between India and the UAE since service began almost 30 years ago, and that the A380 will add some upmarket amenities not currently available on that route.

On-board bar and lounge
“Now our customers on the route can experience the luxury, the quietness and the outstanding service on-board an Emirates A380,” he said. Those luxuries include private suites and shower spas in First Class, Business Class where every lie-flat seat has direct aisle access, an on-board bar and lounge serving drinks as well as hot and cold canapés to First and Business Class customers, and more room for Economy Class passengers, according to Emirates’ website.

In addition, every seat is connected to Emirate’s in-flight entertainment system. Dubbed ice, the digital wide screen display offers passengers up to 1,800 channels of multilingual entertainment including the latest movies, television programs and podcasts, international music collections including the ability for passengers to build their own playlists, and in-seat Wi-Fi for a more connected flight. Ice was awarded The World’s Best Inflight Entertainment system for the 10th year in a row by SKYTRAX, the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey. Results of the SKYTRAX awards were announced earlier in July at the Farnborough Air Show in the U.K.

Enclosed First Class Suite
According to the aircraft’s manufacturer, typical seating on an A380 is 535 passengers in a three-class configuration (First, Business, and Economy); Emirates, however, chose not to cram that many passengers into its aircraft. It operates its 50 A380s in two slightly different configurations: one carries 489 passengers while the other can accommodate 517 passengers.

Both configurations offer 14 closed suites in First Class, with seats that are 23 inches wide, pitch (the distance from one seat back to the seat back in front of it) of 86 inches (…but you’re in your own private suite, so who cares?), and a lie-flat bed that stretches 78 inches. Emirates’ A380s also have 76 flatbed seats in Business Class that are 18.5 inches wide with a pitch of 48 inches, and that have bed lengths between 70 and 79 inches, according to SeatGuru.com.

A380 Business Class cabin
The economy cabin on the DXB-BOM route accommodates 399 passengers in seats that are 18 inches wide, and with pitch ranging from 32 to 34 inches. The airline’s other A380 configuration includes 427 economy seats of the same width and with the same pitch. All First and Business Class seats are located on the upper deck, while Economy Class seats are exclusively on the lower deck in both configurations.

Economy seat width and pitch on Emirates’ A380s are more generous than on many of the other airlines that operate A380s. For example, Qantas will be introducing the A380 on the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Sydney, Australia (SYD) route in late September. As previously reported by TheTravelPro, Economy seats on that super-jumbo will be 17.5 inches wide with a pitch of 31 inches, again according to SeatGuru.com. While the difference in seat width and pitch may not seem significant, on long flights I find an extra half-inch for my hips and one to three inches for my legs most welcome indeed.

Economy seating with
ice entertainment system
In total, Emirates operates five daily flights between DXB and BOM. The A380 flights are EK500, which leaves Dubai International Airport (DXB) at 9:55 p.m., and arrives at BOM at 2:30 a.m. The return flights EK501 depart BOM at 4:30 a.m., and arrive at DXB at 6:00 a.m. The A380 covers the 1,200 nautical mile (2,222-kilometer) route at an average cruising speed of 444 knots (822 km/h), according to the airline.

Geeking out over the A380

The A380 is currently the world’s largest civilian aircraft and has its own category of “Super,” or “Super-Jumbo.” Aircraft weighing over 300,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight are classified as “Heavy.” Heavy jets include aircraft ranging from the Airbus A400 at 311,000 pounds to the Boeing 747-8 at 987,000 pounds. The “super” category starts at one million pounds; the A380’s maximum takeoff weight is 1,270,000 pounds, or roughly the same as two McDonald-Douglas MD-11 widebody aircraft.

Cruising speed is comparable to most commercial jets: approximately Mach 0.85, or 85 percent of the speed of sound. As an aside, the speed of sound through air is almost entirely a function of temperature: the speed of sound is 45 times the square root of the air temperature in degrees Kelvin. But I digress …

The A380 is capable of flying "ultra long-haul" routes because its range is significantly greater than the next closest commercial jetliner. The A380's range of almost 8,500 nautical miles won't be tested by the DXB-BOM route but will come into play when Emirates launches A380 service on the 6,972 nautical mile DFW-DXB route on October 1. At present, Emirates also operates A380s on its DXB-Los Angeles (LAX) route which, by distance, is the fourth-longest commercial airline route at 7,246 nautical miles.

Finally, the interior of an Emirates A380 is the first – and perhaps the only – aircraft to appear on Google StreetView. This unique presentation, which provides an opportunity to take a virtual walk-through of the plane, is available on Emirates’ website.  

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos courtesy Emirates Airline
Click on photos to view larger images

#EmiratesA380

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