Dubai International Airport became the first airport in the Middle East and Africa to welcome the Airbus A380, when the super jumbo double-decker aircraft, resplendent in Emirates’ full livery, flew over the city and its iconic beachfront at low altitudes before landing at the airport for compatibility tests and to participate at Dubai 2005, the Ninth International Aerospace Exhibition.
While the A380 aircraft is in Dubai, the Civil Aviation Authority of Dubai (DCA), which develops and manages Dubai International Airport, will engage in series of tests with Airbus technical personnel to ensure that the airport modifications and enhancements being developed for the A380 aircraft adequately meet its needs.
This includes modifying Gate F13 to accommodate A380 operations, and the airport taxiways and runways that have also be modified to meet international safety requirements for the new large aircraft. “Dubai International Airport was the first airport in the world to install the CAT 10 safety systems in the year 2004, and that made it all set to welcome the A380 this year,” said Mohammed Ahli, director operations, DCA
Khalifa Al Zaffin, director engineering project, DCA, added: “The arrival of the A380 aircraft shows that Dubai International Airport is ready to handle A380 flights, which we have been planning for since the late 1990s.
It also provides DCA with an early opportunity to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Dubai International Airport infrastructure, equipment and operating procedures.”
Emirates, the world’s largest customer for the aircraft and Airbus, the manufacturer of the world’s largest commercial airliner the A380-800, teamed up to bring the massive 600-plus seater specifically for the Dubai Airshow. Set to become a familiar sight in Dubai’s skies from 2007, when Emirates begins to receive the first of its 45 A380s on order, the aircraft marked its debut appearance in the entire region of the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, which have a combined population of more than two billion people.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman said: “The A380’s test flight to Dubai is historic and significant for the entire region. It underpins the impressive profile Emirates and Dubai have created in the international arena ... Our order for 45 of these aircraft will further propel Emirates’ meteoric ascent in the aviation industry and catalyse commerce and industry locally, providing a big thrust to Dubai’s vision of becoming a global hub.”