AS PART of its strategy to strengthen its Asia-Pacific presence, Emirates welcomed its first permanent Airbus A380 flight at Changi Airport’s Terminal One on Saturday, officially bringing the number of destinations served by its double-decker aircraft to 21.
With the addition of the A380 services, Emirates’ total capacity across its four daily services between Singapore and Dubai has now increased from 1,142 to 1,659 seats. The airline operated a two-week A380 ad hoc service on the route between September 8 and 21.
Nick Rees, Emirates’ manager for Singapore and Brunei, said that the extension of the A380’s services to the Far East plays a crucial part in the Middle Eastern carrier’s carefully calibrated plan to expand its presence across the Asia-Pacific, as it primes itself for its joint venture with Qantas.
“Over the years, we’ve seen strong demand on the Dubai-Singapore route, and Emirates has been boosting its flight services on this route progressively. Singapore is a prominent aviation hub in the region and naturally, it made sense to base an A380 here, which of course permits us to connect more Asian travellers to Dubai and beyond,” he said. Rees expects the load factor for the Singapore-Dubai A380 route to vary between 80 and well over 90 per cent depending on the season.
When queried about how the proposed collaboration with Qantas, scheduled for an early 2013 start date, would impact Emirates’ expansion plans in the region, Rees replied that the airline would continue to focus on developing connections between key Asia-Pacific cities and Dubai.
“There’s so much growth happening within Asia and the Pacific, especially within the longhaul segment. Both inbound and outbound traffic within the region are on an upward trajectory. China and Indonesia are still largely untapped, and we hope to be able to make further inroads into these markets,” he said.
The new service offers First and Business class passengers access to an onboard lounge serving a wide selection of snacks and beverages. First class passengers have the added luxury of shower spas and private suites.