Emirates to operate all A380s on routes to Heathrow
By: Claire Validini
Emirates Airline, Dubai’s flagship carrier, will operate an all-A380 service between London Heathrow from 10 December, the airline said.
Emirates, the world’s largest customer of the superjumbo, said it planned to launch a fifth route to London Heathrow on 1 February but operations will instead begin operations two months earlier. All five flights will be served by the A380, it added.
“Due to increased passenger demand and recent A380 deliveries, Emirates has been able to bring the all-A380 London Heathrow service forward,” the airline said in an emailed statement.
The Dubai-based carrier is the largest operator of the A380, with a fleet of 26 in service and another 64 on order. The airline will operate 360 flights to and from the UK every month, making Britain Emirates’ largest market for A380s.
Emirates last month said it saw no reason to suspend its A380 fleet after two of its flights were forced to shut down their engines midflight.
“We are talking with the Engine Alliance, the manufacturer of the engines, and having to address some of the issues we have on our engines,” Adel Al Redha, executive vice president of engineering and operations at Emirates, told Arabian Business.
“We have removed any concern operationally. There is absolutely no need to ground. There will be maintenance requirement to be done but there will be no such thing as grounding the fleet,” he added.
Emirates engineers in January discovered minor wing cracks on the wings of a “limited number” of A380s, although these did not affect their safe running, Airbus said. The Dubai-based airline has carried more than 7m passengers since the superjumbo was introduced to its fleet in August 2008.
There are 18 airlines currently using the aircraft with total orders outstanding at 262. Airbus’ parent company EADS said costs relating to repairing wing cracks in the A380 had cost it €200m (US$255m) in 2012 so far.