Emirates has launched the first regular A380 service to Spain with daily A380 flights to Barcelona replacing the Boeing 777 previously operated on the route. Adding over 2,200 seats per week between Dubai and Barcelona, Emirates’ newly-expanded operation is a direct response to strong passenger demand. It will also help contribute to Spain’s economic growth and enable more passengers to experience its flagship A380 product.
Barcelona joins a host of 25 other major cities around the world to be served by an Emirates A380.
Travelling on the commemorative flight from Dubai was Thierry Aucoc, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Europe and the Russian Federation. The aircraft was welcomed by key officials including: Sonia Corrochano, Director of Barcelona – El Prat Airport and Richard Font, Generalitat, Routes Committee President. After a welcome reception, VIPs, Barcelona Airport executives, Civil Aviation Authority officials and media enjoyed a guided static tour of the double-decker aircraft. The tour gave the guests a chance to see first-hand the innovations provided for passengers on-board.
“Barcelona, ‘the business corridor of the Mediterranean’, has a vibrant economy. It is attracting foreign investment across sectors, and it is building on its position as an international congress centre and multifaceted tourism destination. Accordingly, we have seen growing demand for air transport to and from this exciting city, and our A380 service is a direct response to that demand. We are proud to bring our flagship A380 aircraft to Spain, and to provide our customers with options to continue their A380 experience with just one stop in Dubai, to a range of global destinations including popular Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Bangkok,” said Thierry Aucoc, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Europe and the Russian Federation.
“A daily A380 service in itself is testimony to the potential and appeal of the city, and of the airport in its own right. The commitment shown by Emirates underlines again that we are a competitive airport that is prepared to fulfil the requirements of the airlines serving our destination and adapt to their needs, and also that we are able to improve day by day in offering even better services of ever-higher quality,” said Sonia Corrochano, Director of Barcelona Airport.
Barcelona-El Prat Airport set a new record in 2013 with over 35 million passengers passing through its facilities. Over 50,000 of those passengers travelled to the United Arab Emirates, according to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce’s Air Route Committee.
“Having welcomed 100 million visitors within the last 20 years, Barcelona is now in a position to further grow as a global tourism destination. The arrival of the Emirates A380 is a significant development for the city and for the Catalonia region that will help support our goals for further growth,” said Pere Duran, Director General Turisme de Barcelona (Barcelona Tourist Board).
The city welcomed almost more than 5 million visitors between January and September of last year, with more than 500,000 visitors coming to attend the over 800 international congresses, further benchmarking Barcelona’s attractiveness as a business tourism destination. Furthermore, Barcelona has become the top city in the world by number of delegates, and third ranked for number of international congresses held in the city, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Emirates’ A380 and the Spanish supply chain
“The A380 is a fundamental part of our fleet strategy. Our orders represent a sizable piece of the overall A380 programme worldwide, with 96 pending delivery including the 50 additional A380s ordered at the Dubai Air Show in November 2013. In Spain, over 1,300 skilled workers work exclusively on the A380 programme at Airbus’s three facilities. Emirates works with an additional 54 suppliers in Spain that support the global A380 supply chain. Our commitment to the A380 programme provides stable demand which is an essential factor for investments in innovation, and this in turn is an important propeller for a resurgent economy. Moreover, our A380 service will also fuel the business of our local suppliers such as caterers, chauffer drive service companies, and ground handlers, to mention a few,” said Aucoc.
The A380 programme has led to a significant increase in Spain’s share of the industrial workload on Airbus aircraft. The aircraft’s massive horizontal tail plane was designed by engineers in Spain and undergoes its initial assembly in Getafe, one of Airbus’s three plants in Spain. Getafe shares responsibility for the A380 horizontal tail plane with the Airbus site in Puerto Real, which performs its final assembly and testing.
Emirates SkyCargo and trade links
Emirates SkyCargo is a key link in the chain that connects Spain to the rest of the world. Operating from Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza, Emirates SkyCargo carries made-in-Spain goods to Dubai and beyond with most exports bound for countries such as Australia, China, India, and Indonesia. Emirates’ cargo volume for all Spanish origin points grew 44% last year. The UAE and Spain have a buoyant trade relationship which reached almost 2 billion Euros in 2012.
The 517-seat Emirates A380 offers 14 Private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 427 spacious seats in Economy Class.
First Class passengers have access to two Onboard Shower Spas, while all premium passengers on the upper deck can socialise in the Onboard Lounge. Passengers in all classes of service experience Emirates renowned hospitality, receive a generous baggage allowance and inflight Wi-Fi, as well as access to the industry-leading ice entertainment system which boasts up to 1,600 channels of films, TV programmes, games and music.
EK 185 will depart Dubai at 0740hrs and arrive in Barcelona at 1210hrs. EK 186 will take off daily from Barcelona at 1525hrs and land in Dubai at 0045hrs the following day.
Emirates has the world’s largest A380 fleet with 44 of these aircraft serving 26 global destinations. One in every three A380s in the sky today is an Emirates aircraft.