05/04/2005 - 22:00

Emirates’ new service

05/04/2005 - 22:00

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The world’s fastest growing airline, Emirates, has just started the most aggressive expansion policy in airline history, a move with the potential to boost international travel to and from Western Australia.

The airline has taken delivery of the first of its fleet of 30 new Boeing 777-300ERs, which are part of an unprecedented $US30 billion ($A39 billion) fleet expansion program that will deliver one aircraft every month for seven years.

Also on the shopping list are 45 Airbus A380s and 20 Airbus A340-600HGWs, two A340-500s and three A310-300 freighters.

The Emirates fleet already includes 21 Boeing 777s, a number set to grow to 51 by late 2007, making Emirates one of the largest 777 operators in the world.

The new aircraft deliveries are positive news for Perth travellers, with Emirates due to start a second daily service in October, which will be the first daylight flight to London.

The flight, EK425, takes-off from Perth at 6.20am and arrives in Dubai at 1.30pm with a one-hour connection to a flight that arrives at Heathrow at 6.15pm. The flight also connects at Dubai to a host of other European destinations.

The return service operates from Heathrow at 8pm, arriving in Dubai at 6.45am with a three-hour connect for the flight to Perth, which arrives just after midnight.

For this service, Emirates will introduce a new aircraft to Perth – the Airbus A340-500, which features the airline’s latest interior designs.

Rather than seat numbers, first class passengers are given suite numbers. There are 12 suites in first class and each has personal hanging space, the seats are massage-enabled and there is a 48-centimetre personal video screen. The list of luxury appointments seems endless and that opulence flows into business class and even down to economy class.

On the A340-500 the airline promises economy passengers greater legroom (84-86cm) than most airlines plus a 23cm personal seatback video with email and SMS options, including 500 channels of video, audio and games on demand.

Emirates is pushing the Federal Government for greater access to Australian cities with insiders in Canberra suggesting that the airline is getting very positive hearings.

However, for Perth, insiders at the airline tell WA Business News that it will increase the size of its aircraft to the giant A380s rather than go for three services a day.

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