The love affair between Emirates Airline and the giant Airbus A380 continues, with the airline announcing plans to fly nothing but A380s to Australia, increasing capacity to major Australian cities rather than launching new services to secondary Aussie destinations.
Emirates began a second daily A380 service from Dubai to Perth in August, replacing the B777-300ER aircraft operating on EK424/EK425. The airline is the world’s largest operator of A380s, the world’s largest operator of B777s (of which Qantas has none) and the world’s largest long-haul international airline.
Emirates is currently rationalising its fleet, retiring its A330s, A340s and B777-200ERs. From next month on, it will operate just A380s and the newer version of the B777.
Emirates president Tim Clark, who is currently visiting Australia, met at the weekend with Qantas chief Alan Joyce at the ultra-luxury Wolgan Valley spa resort in the Blue Mountains.
Clark reiterated that he sees the giant A380 playing a major part in the future of aviation. He is keen to boost the partnership with Qantas though details of what that might entail have yet to be finalised.
Clark told the Australian Financial Review that this year could be tough for airlines globally. Volumes were healthy but yields were down.
Emirates currently operates 77 weekly flights to Australia from its Dubai hub. By the end of this month, 49 of those will be flown with A380s.
Three Gulf carriers serve Australia, the other two being Etihad and Qatar. Etihad owns a slice of Virgin Australia. Only time would tell if the Australian market could sustain three Gulf carriers, the Emirates chief told the Australian, conceding that it would be “a little bit worrying” if unlimited and unconstrained capacity was brought into the market.
Written by Peter Needham