Mumbai: Emirates Airline, the largest customer for the biggest airplane of all time, Airbus A380, has announced it will receive the first of its 58 ''superjumbos'' on 28 July.
At current list prices, the Emirates' order for A380s come to a huge $18.8 billion. The July delivery will also take the wraps off the Emirates' A380 interiors and onboard product, which have been the hallmark of secrecy thus far.
Emirates chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum has remained steadfast in his belief that the A380 is the harbinger of the next chapter in aviation. He said that despite high oil prices, demand remains strong for Emirates, and with the A380's combination of range, capacity and fuel efficiency, the aircraft will help Emirates to achieve its growth targets.
Plans for the A380 deployment have already been announced by Emirates, on routes from Dubai to New York, London Heathrow, Sydney and Auckland.
During the current fiscal till March 2009, Emirates will accept delivery of five A380s, each configured for its ultra long-haul 489 seats, of which 14 will be in First Class, 76 in business, and 399 in economy. The plane will have the ability to carry 10 tonnes of cargo in its belly-hold. In its densest seating configuration ordered by Emirates, the A380 will fly 644 passengers, a feat that could redefine aviation records.
The delivery dates come after a two year delay on account of production constraints at Airbus. According to Emirates, the A380 allows for cost benefits as one of the most fuel efficient aircraft if measured by the amount of fuel burnt per passenger. The A380 can fly 15,000km with a fully laden cabin.
Emirates had first ordered the A380 in 2000, and has been expecting the first delivery since 2006.