Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Emirates Cuts A380 Flights to JFK, New Routes launched

New York is losing its flights on the Airbus A380, the world's largest commercial passenger aircraft. That comes as the global financial crisis continues to take its toll on the aviation industry.The Associated Pess rites "Dubai-based Emirates said Wednesday it will replace two double-decker Airbus A380s it uses on a daily Dubai-New York flight with smaller Boeing 777s starting June 1. A second daily roundtrip already using the same type of Boeing plane remains unchanged."

Emirates officials tell AP that swapping to the smaller 777 means the airline will have 132 fewer seats to try to sell each day between New York and Dubai. With the change, Los Angeles will now be the only U.S. city to have A380 service (via Qantas). As for New York, AP notes "the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, anticipating that a number of other carriers will launch additional A380 service in the coming years, has spent $179 million to prepare JFK airport to accommodate the wider, heavier aircraft."

Reuters says Emirates will "redeploy the two A380s it uses for two daily flights to New York onto routes between (Dubai) and Toronto and Bangkok." Reuters adds "the A380s would fly twice daily to Bangkok and three times a week to Toronto under the revised plan." Flightglobal.com writes Emirates "says the economic downturn has resulted in the need to rethink the positioning and use of the 489-seat aircraft." An unnamed Emirates official is quoted by Reuters as saying: "As the global economy has affected international air travel, this aircraft redeployment was based solely on a change in capacity demands in these three markets."

"The A380 will allow Emirates to address some of the unmet need in Toronto while on Bangkok, the A380 will help support the Thai government's new tourism initiatives," Emirates President Tim Clark says in a statement. In Toronto, The National Post notes that Emirates flights are "capped at three a week … under Ottawa's bilateral agreement with United Arab Emirates." Upgrading to A380 service on the Toronto-Dubai route is -– obviously -– a way for Emirates to boost capacity on the route while staying within the restrictions spelled out in the bilateral agreement. The Globe and Mail of Toronto writes "Emirates has been lobbying Ottawa for permission to increase its Toronto-Dubai service to daily flights."

- From www.usatoday.com

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