AIRLINES often crow about having the world’s longest flights but Emirates is trumpeting its newest Airbus A380 destination as the world’s shortest for the superjumbo.
The Dubai-based carrier will upgrade one of its nine daily flights between Dubai and Doha to an A380 service from December 1 on what is the 45th A380 route for the airline and the shortest for the aircraft at just over 235 miles (379kms) each way.
The airline justified using the long-range superjumbo on the short route by saying demand for Doha had been steadily increasing to the point it had carried more than 700,000 passengers between the cities so far this year.
“The upgrade to the A380 will provide Emirates the increased ability to serve growing demand for travel out of Doha,’’ it said. “The double-decker has also proved tremendously popular with customers, and the upcoming service in December will give travellers from Qatar the chance to experience Emirates’ award-winning A380 onboard product and service to Dubai and seamless A380 journeys to some of Emirates most popular destinations.’’
The gulf carrier has timed the flights so that travellers will have connections of less than four hours to popular destinations such as London Heathrow, New York, Paris and Rome.
The superjumbos on the route will be in a three-class configuration with 429 seats in economy, 76 flat-bed seats in business and 14 first-class suites. They will also come equipped with the airline’s renowned in-flight bar and entertainment system, althoughit willl be a choice between a quick drink or a short program on a flight lasting about an hour.
Emirates is the world’s biggest operator of A380s with 85 in service and 57 on order and competes with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Doha-based Qatar. It recently upgraded its business class product and bar and is working on a new first class product.
Emirates president Tim Clark, who says the aircraft works well for airline and is popular with customers, recently warned that the world would need more A380s to cope with capacity problems at airports.
Airbus announced earlier this year that it will more than halve production of the superjumbo from the current 2.5 per month to one a month because of lacklustre demand.
But Airbus chief executive Tom Enders, speaking at an event to celebrate the manufacturer's 10,000th aircraft delivery, predicted there would still be a demand for the A380 "for many years to come''.