Emirates Airline will decide on a 100-plane deal for mid-sized aircraft worth up to $20 billion by October.
This was reported at the recent Paris Air Show. The airline will decide between the Airbus A350 and Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
President Tim Clark ruled out splitting the 100-plane order between the two rival manufacturers, and said the A350 design was closing in on the B787, Reuters reported.
This is in line with the airline’s massive expansion plans.
A380 SEAT PLAN
Separately, the airline announced that its new Airbus A380 craft will carry a jaw-dropping 644 passengers in some of the 47 planes it has on order when it begins receiving them next year, Gulf News reported.
Maurice Flanagan, vice chairman and group president, said Emirates will design its A380s in three separate seating configurations tailor made to different routes. The highest density configuration will seat 644 in business and economy with no first class.
Routes to Sydney, Melbourne and New York will be served by a three-class configuration carrying 490 passengers, while so-called ‘11-hour routes’ such as Dubai-London will also have three classes and carry 514 passengers, Flanagan said.
“We’ll fill the planes,” he promised. “At the moment, there are destinations where we just can’t get the seats for them - New York and Heathrow, for example.”
Emirates is the eighth largest carrier by international traffic, and a recent report by Boston Consulting Group noted they could become the largest international airline by 2012, partly due to its expansion with the A380s. The revelations for the first time offer a detailed look at how the Dubai-based airline plans to use its mammoth order of double-decker planes. But while industry experts say Emirates will profit from integrating the new planes into its network, they note having three different seating plans for the A380 fleet could be risky.
David Field, an editor with Airline Business, said the plans usher in a string of firsts for an airline already known for innovation. “There have been some 500 seat configurations (for the A380), but no other airline has announced more than one configuration, and no one has announced anything over 550 seats.”
He cautioned that in an era where the airline industry strives to simplify business plans, three different seating plans could constrain the airline if complications arose.
TORONTO, SOUTH AFRICA
Emirates will start thrice-weekly, non-stop service from Dubai to Toronto, a first gateway for the airline in Canada, starting October 29, according to a statement. The service is subject to approval.
The airline also announced four additional flights to it’s existing double-daily Johannesburg service. Emirates now flies to Johannesburg every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.