Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Emirates A380: The Plane

(emirate jet images: emirates.com)
This is one of a series of posts about the Emirates A380.

I've become slightly obsessed with learning more about the Emirates A380 after recently posting about the airline's shower spa. I've always had a fascination with passenger airplanes. Whenever at Honolulu International Airport for a flight or to greet family or friends I used love watching all the planes arriving, departing or waiting at the gates. This was before only ticketed passengers were allowed in the terminal. It's unlikely I'll be visiting Dubai or flying on an A380 in the near future but its nice to dream.

The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger jet ever. It has a capacity to seat over 800 passengers in a full economy configuration on its wide-body double-decks. But most airlines are opting for a three-class configuration with about 500 seats. Singapore Airlines was the first to fly the jumbo jet in commercial service in October 2007. Other airlines to fly the A380 commercially are: Emirates (August 2008), Qantas (October 2008), Air France (November 2009) and Lufthansa (June 2010).  Other carriers with jets on order are British Airways, Korean Air, Air Austral and Skymark Airlines. No carrier from the United States flies the A380. Over 31 of these jets were in service in 2010. The jet's 2010 approximate cost is $375 million which varies based on the customized interiors. The two decks are reach via one of two stairways.

Airports and airlines also had to adapt to the large jet with jetways to reach both decks and to find ways to efficiently board and deplane passengers.

But it is Emirates which is largest operator with 15 A380s in its fleet out a total of 90 on order that is setting the benchmark for the jet. The airline flies all its A380s from Dubai to destinations around the world and back. With the inclusion of an on board shower for its first class passengers, the airline is setting a new luxury standard for the industry. The business class seats are also seated on the upper deck. All economy seats are on the lower deck.

The photos below of jetways leading to the A380 show airports also had to accommodate the mammoth jet. For efficiency purposes separate jetways lead to the upper and lower decks.

(images credit: singaporeair.com, lufthansa.com, qantas.com.au, airfrance.com;
jetway photos from flyertalk.com)


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