UP­FRONT

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents - Do­minic El­lis Ed­i­tor

Air­line and ho­tel news world­wide

I t took me 17 years but I fi­nally made it to Toulouse. Af­ter all the con­fer­ences, fore­casts and air­craft or­der re­leases, it was in­ter­est­ing to see Air­bus’ com­mer­cial, de­fence and space op­er­a­tion at first hand.

Some­times you toil away at an­gles and some­times they land in your lap, and for­tu­nately in this case, the chance to visit Air­bus on the eve of Emi­rates re­ceiv­ing its 100th A380, and The Dubai Air­show 2017, was for­tu­itous tim­ing.

An­niver­saries are al­ways a good time to re­flect. I’ve been cast­ing my mind back to the Dubai Air­show 2007, in what seems like an­other avi­a­tion era; it would be an­other year be­fore Emi­rates re­ceived its first su­per­jumbo, and at that time, it placed an or­der for 11 ad­di­tional A380s, tak­ing its over­all tally to 58 air­craft.

In­ter­est­ingly, while the dou­ble-deck­ers have been fly­ing to DXB ever since, at the 2007 show Emi­rates or­dered 50 A350s only to can­cel them in 2014 – af­ter it or­dered a record 150 B777Xs at the 2013 Dubai Air­show (Back to 2017, and the A350 hangar looked busy with Asian and Gulf car­rier cus­tomers).

There can be no doubt it has been the ‘decade of the su­per­jumbo’ as far as Emi­rates is con­cerned, and its on­go­ing sup­port has been piv­otal to the model’s pro­duc­tion.

Air­bus main­tains the A380 is the only real so­lu­tion to air­port con­ges­tion as air travel is pro­jected to dou­ble, but the de­bate be­tween hub and point-to-point con­tin­ues to rum­ble on, amid on­go­ing airspace and air­port ca­pac­ity chal­lenges. Fac­ing un­end­ing po­lit­i­cal, se­cu­rity and eco­nomic chal­lenges, the Emi­rates A380 has con­tin­ued to con­nect pas­sen­gers to global hubs – and just as im­por­tantly, se­condary cities – via DXB.

With­out doubt, the A380 has served Emi­rates well in its first nine years – and I sus­pect pre­mium pas­sen­gers will still be en­joy­ing a shower, and rais­ing a glass at the on­board lounge, in 2026.

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