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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Emirates to launch first A380 service to Brazil

The Dubai flag carrier will launch its first Airbus A380 service to South America in March as the airline looks to build on ties with Brazil and the wider region.
Emirates will launch its first Airbus A380 service to South America in March as the airline looks to build on ties with Brazil and the wider region. Courtesy Emirates
Emirates will launch its first Airbus A380 service to South America in March as the airline looks to build on ties with Brazil and the wider region. Courtesy Emirates

Brazil’s vibrant financial centre – and one of the world’s most populous cities – is set to receive Emirates airline’s first scheduled Airbus A380 passenger service to South America, starting on March 26.

Emirates announced on Monday that it will operate the A380 superjumbo flight to the country when it upgrades its Dubai (DXB) to São Paulo (GRU) service.

Replacing the existing Boeing 777-300ER used on this route, the A380 service will mark the airline’s 10th year of operations in Brazil, which it began with daily flights between Dubai and São Paulo city, which has a current population of more than 12 million, in 2007. Back then, Emirates had already made history by becoming the first airline to connect the Middle East and South America with a non-stop direct flight service. In 2012, Emirates expanded its presence in Brazil with the start of a daily service between Dubai and Rio de Janeiro.

“The Emirates A380 is an iconic aircraft that continues to excite our customers and set the benchmark for travel comfort in commercial flying,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates divisional senior vice president, commercial operations, west. “We look forward to offering the award-winning Emirates A380 experience to our customers and to continue contributing to the economic success of Brazil. The switch to the A380 offers a total of 959 additional seats per week in each direction meeting a growing demand from travellers on the route and demonstrating our commitment to Brazil and to the South American region.”

Dubai International Airport has experienced a surge in passenger traffic from South America. In October it reported an increase of 9.9 per cent on the same month a year earlier. That was second only to eastern Europe, up by 25.2 per cent.

An Emirates A380 made a one-off flight to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport in November 2015, receiving the traditional water-cannon salute.

São Paulo is among the richest cities in the world and is expected to be the 6th richest in 2025, according to data from the Federation of São Paulo State for Trade, and its GDP in 2011 was R$450 billion (Dh513.06bn).

“We made significant investments to upgrade the facilities at GRU Airport – São Paulo International Airport in order to make it A380-compatible,” said Gustavo Figueiredo, the Guarulhos International Airport chief executive. “We are very excited about Emirates’ decision to deploy the first A380 in South America to our airport.”

São Paulo will join more than 40 destinations on Emirates’ global network served by its highly popular A380 aircraft, including Narita, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The introduction of the A380 service from Guarulhos International Airport, São Paulo, makes it possible for Brazilian travellers to fly only on A380s to their final destinations, particularly when to travelling to Asian cities, via Dubai.

In addition to the cargo capacity offered on the A380 to São Paulo, Emirates SkyCargo also operates a freighter twice a week from Viracopos carrying Brazilian exports to other global destinations.

From March 26, EK261 will become an A380 flight, leaving Dubai (DXB) every day at 08:35 and arriving in São Paulo (GRU) at 16:30. The return flight, EK262, departs São Paulo (GRU) at 01:25 and lands in Dubai (DXB) at 22:55.

The move strengthens ties between Emirates and the South American aviation sector. In October 2016, Emirates announced a codeshare and frequent flyer programme partnership with the Brazilian carrier GOL, based in São Paulo, allowing customers to purchase connecting flights on both airlines using one reservation. Passengers booking flights from multiple destinations in Brazil with GOL, including Porte Alegre, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Brasilia, will now be able to connect in São Paulo and fly the Emirates A380 to many destinations worldwide.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of A380s, with 92 currently in its fleet and a further 50 on order. Since 2008, the airline has carried over 65 million passengers on its flagship aircraft.

Emirates will deploy its three-class A380 on the São Paulo route, offering a total of 491 seats, with 14 private suites in first class, 76 lie-flat seats in business class and 401 seats in economy class.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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