Emirates announced (06-Jul-2010) plans to commission a special commercial service with 517-seat A380 equipment from Dubai to Delhi to celebrate the launch of Terminal 3 at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. The service will be the first A380 to arrive in India. Bookings opened 06-Jun-2010, with the service scheduled on 15-Jul-2010. Emirates operates 11 A380 aircraft to destinations including London Heathrow, Toronto, Bangkok, Paris, Jeddah, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland. The carrier plans to launch A380 service to Beijing on 01-Jun-2010, Manchester on 01-Sep-2010 and resume New York A380 service on 31-Oct-2010. Emirates last week placed an order with Airbus for an additional 32 A380s, taking the firm order for the carrier to 90, valued at USD11.5bn at list prices. [more]
Emirates to fly A380 to Delhi in first for India
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Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.
Air Astana Part 1: Kazakhstan flag carrier increases focus on transit traffic as profits drop
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is increasing its focus on sixth freedom transit traffic as part of a new strategy aimed at capitalising on its low cost structure and geographic position at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. More transit traffic is necessary to unlock a new phase of growth and reduce its reliance on its home market.
Air Astana has nearly doubled its transit traffic over the past year in response to challenging market conditions in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan economy has weakened significantly as oil prices have collapsed, leading to rapid currency devaluation that has impacted Air Astana’s top line. The airline’s revenues have fallen 25% since 2013 while passenger traffic has been relatively flat.
Increased sixth freedom traffic, slower expansion and reduced costs have enabled the airline to maintain profitability. A further and bigger transit traffic push is risky but should drive improved scale, a resumption of growth, and a stronger long-term position – which in turn will make Air Astana more attractive as it revisits long-delayed IPO plans.