United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways celebrated its fourth birthday last week by introducing an interline agreement with Australian operator Virgin Blue that connects its 45-destination network with 22 Australian cities through Brisbane and Sydney. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad will increase frequency to Sydney from one daily flight to 11 flights a week next March; it flies to Brisbane three times a week.
The Emirates Group
Emirates Airline is on track by year-end to be the first carrier in the world to allow its passengers to make calls using their own mobile phones with the AeroMobile system. Earlier this year, AeroMobile, a joint venture between U.S.-based Arinc and Norway’s Telenor, completed a successful trial of the system with Australian carrier Qantas, and it is now ready for full revenue-service use.
Both local and Western companies are enjoying a strong market for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the Middle East, due to increased airline activity and military aircraft fleets.
Emirates Airline launched a new era in air travel last month when it flew its first Boeing 777-200LR from Dubai to São Paulo, Brazil. The trip marked the first time any carrier has linked all the world’s permanently inhabited continents with nonstop service from one hub.
Having run the airline since its first day of operations in 1985, Emirates executive vice chairman Maurice Flanagan has achieved an appropriate measure of fame as the hand that has guided the Dubai carrier to its current position, operating more than 100 jetliners and employing 30,000 people overall. Now, Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has formally recognized that success by grant of a Legends Award and induction to its Hall of Fame.
Gulf carrier Qatar Airways yesterday signed an order for five Boeing 777F cargo aircraft and took options on a further five. It also confirmed orders for 22 others previously from unidentified buyers–fourteen 777-300ERs, six -200LRs and two 777F cargo variants.
With a characteristically nimble response to market demand, Emirates Airline hastily re-scheduled an announcement here yesterday of more than $30 billion worth of aircraft orders to accommodate the presence of Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
The boom in air travel throughout the Middle East and beyond has certainly reaped economic rewards, but not without a significant amount of growing pain, particularly in countries where the existing infrastructure can barely support today’s level of traffic. Thankfully for Dubai and many other Gulf states, a wealth of investment resources helps conquer virtually any building challenge the rulers choose to confront.
With construction under way on the new Dubai World Central airport, the existing Dubai International Airport (DXB) is continuing to grow, as planned, to allow it to be capable of handling 68 million pasengers in 2010, although current projections foresee an actual throughput of 50.8 million at that time (see chart). Here at the Dubai Air Show, the airport authority is unveiling a new logo and name.
Two and a half years after its first flight, the Airbus A380 airliner entered service late in October with Singapore Airlines (SIA). While SIA has received the only example of the super large airliner slated for 2007 delivery, next August Emirates Airline is slated to get the first of the 55 A380s it has ordered to date.