Airlines Airline set to become launch carrier for Airbus A340-500 November 2003 285 Share Emirates - set to become the launch airline for state-of-the-art Airbus A340-500 - is preparing its sales force to manage planned growth. A new chapter for Emirates and commercial aviation starts in just a few weeks, when the airline makes the world’s longest-range aircraft, the Airbus A340-500, available to passengers travelling to Australia.The four-engine airplane will be progressively pressed into service on other routes, said officials. To prepare for this watershed development and to gear up for other planned steps in support of Emirates’ continued fast growth, passenger and cargo sales teams from across the network came together in Dubai for this year’s edition of their annual conference. This was the largest gathering of its kind ever, with over one thousand staff in attendance. Emirates’ chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “We have to ensure that as we become bigger, we do not lose the personal touch.” 8 aircraft to be leasedDUBAI: Emirates is to acquire a fleet of Airbus jets to meet customer demand for more seats on key long haul routes from Dubai, the carrier announced.Officials said Emirates is to lease eight Airbus A340-300s, powered by Snecma CFM56 engines, and seating up to 267 people in three classes. When full, and with some 10 tonnes of cargo, their range is 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km) - non-stop from Dubai to Japan. The jets will be refitted to Emirates’ cabin standards early next year by aerospace companies in France and Germany and will enter service with the airline from March 1.