Emirates makes aviation history with arrival of first scheduled A380 service to the U.S.
With the company’s president, Tim Clark, on the inaugural flight, Emirates Airline made history when its Airbus A380 landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at approximately 4:35 p.m. on 1st August. This was the first commercial A380 ‘superjumbo’ jet to touch down on American soil. The 13.5 hour flight took off at 11:00 a.m. Dubai time with 489 passengers and 24 cabin crew onboard.
"We are very pleased to celebrate Emirates' inaugural flight from Dubai to New York - the first commercial service to touch down in the United States," said Emirates President, Tim Clark in his reception speech to public officials, members of the media and special guests at the airport.
"We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of Kennedy International Airport. We now welcome the first service of this remarkable aircraft to the United States," commented Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of Aviation, Susan Bear. Ms. Bear was seated beside Mr. Clark in the address to the crowd.
The true test of the flight's success was reflected in the comments of the crew, passengers and public who participated in the first service and greeted the aircraft with applause on touch down at JFK's terminal four.
"Flying the first commercial service of the Emirates A380 to the United States was thrilling," commented Emirates pilot, Captain Abbas Shaban. "Although bigger than any other civil aircraft, the A380 is smoother and quieter than any other commercial aircraft I have flown," he added. Captain Shaban was among several other flight deck crew operating the service. He and Captain Patrick De Roeck attended the reception ceremony on arrival.
The A380 is the world’s only twin-deck, two -aisle airliner, offering the widest cabin of any aircraft. The aircraft’s floor area is 49 percent bigger and has 35 percent more seats than its closest rival. It towers at 79 feet, 7 inches high with a wing span of 261 feet, 8 inches.
Powered by American aircraft engine maker Engine Alliance’s GP7200 engines, Emirates’ A380s have a range of up to 9,320 miles and offer better fuel economy per passenger mile than most hybrid passenger cars. The A380 is also quieter – both inside and outside of the cabin – generating less than half the noise of other aircraft on take off.
"It was a wonderful flight - I landed here at New York with virtually no jet lag," commented Mr. Harry Moraes, a Business Class passenger and a member of Emirates' Skywards frequent flyer programme. "After 13 and a half hours we felt fresh and well-rested. The aircraft offers a remarkable sense of space and comfort," he added.
All cabins feature Emirates’ award-winning ICE (information, communication, entertainment) inflight entertainment system, which consist of over 1,200 channels of on-demand entertainment – more content than any other inflight entertainment system in the air. Each cabin is also equipped with a distinctive, advanced mood lighting system, complete with a starlit sky, which adjusts throughout the flight to reflect the time at the destination and to help combat the effects of jet lag.
"The experience was truly unique," commented Mrs. Weadley, a first class passenger and loyal Emirates customer travelling on the flight. "The cabin was so quiet and spacious, there was a true sense of peace and privacy. My husband and I travelled from Perth, Western Australia - we felt very good and relaxed after a trip half way around the world! It is a beautiful aircraft," she added.
Emirates’ A380 – with 14 First Class, 76 Business Class and 399 Economy seats – represents the latest example of innovation and technology from a company that has already won hundreds of international awards for inflight amenities and services. Unique to the Emirates aircraft are its Shower Spas, two fully-equipped bathrooms in the First Class cabins with shower facilities. In addition to increasing cabin crew for its A380, Emirates brought in Cabin Service Assistants tasked with keeping the Shower Spas clean for the exclusive use of First Class passengers.
The new Shower Spa feature has been a topic of immense interest since the aircraft product was revealed in Hamburg last week. Emirates Airline took delivery of its first of 58 A380s last Monday at Airbus’ new Jürgen Thomas A380 Delivery Centre. The airline is expected to receive four more of the superjumbos in the current financial year.
Another area of interest for passengers was the business class lounge onboard which offers a list of premium wines and beverages.
"The lounge is a wonderful idea," commented Mrs. Moraes. "It gives you a chance to stand up and have a walk around. The entire planning of the aircraft truly makes the trip enjoyable," she commented.
Passengers onboard the Emirates A380 also enjoyed the airline’s extensive menu of multi-course meal options, created by top international chefs and complemented by the finest beverages, including some of the best champagnes, red and white wines, and ports sourced from the world’s finest wine-producing regions. Passengers on the airline’s maiden A380 voyage were also the first fare-paying customers to see Emirates’ new cabin crew uniform. Carrying through the well-known beige and red theme of the previous outfit, the latest apparel gives a shaper, more business-like feel to the onboard service.
Airports globally are preparing to accommodate the entry of the Airbus A380 by investing billions of dollars in facilities enlargement, according to a recent report by consulting company Frost & Sullivan. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates JFK Airport, invested $179 million last year to upgrade the airport’s taxiways and bridges to handle the new aircraft. Emirates also constructed a new jetway for its First and Business Class passengers to board the A380 directly from the Emirates Lounge at JFK.
In his address to the media, Mr. Clark also indicated that other U.S. cities are being evaluated for Emirates growing route network such as Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington. New points will augment the airlines' existing U.S. gateways of New York, Houston and soon Los Angeles (26th October) and San Francisco (15th December).
Starting from 8th August, Emirates will operate the world’s largest passenger aircraft three times a week on its New York - Dubai route (EK202/EK201) on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. After eventually being incorporated in Emirates’ twice-daily service to New York, the quieter, greener aircraft will be deployed on the London Heathrow route from 1st December and on the Sydney and Auckland services from February next year.