Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Emirates asks Airbus for longer-range A350

I've been very busy with work that's why I'm not able to update this blog anymore. But since my friend Twisted Dichotomy updated hers, I'll update mine too... =)

For now, update about EK =) Happy Landings!

Emirates, the world's biggest airline by international traffic, urged Airbus SAS to boost the range of the biggest version of its new A350 wide-body plane as Boeing ponders a redesign of the competing 777 model.

Emirates, whose outstanding orders for the 777 will make it the twin-jet's biggest user, needs higher-capacity aircraft for its longest intercontinental routes, Tim Clark, the Dubai-based airline's president, said today in an interview in Paris.

Clark has ordered 20 350-seat A350-1000s, a model he says can't reach Los Angeles from Dubai in the three-class layout that Emirates prefers. The Boeing planes that it currently uses on the route are based on a less efficient 20-year-old design, with the 354-seat 777-300ER at the limits of its range, curbing the payload, and the 777-200LR limited to 266 people.

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"We're finding that the smallest aircraft that's useful to us needs to be 340 seats," Clark said. "We're trying to persuade Airbus to realign the A350-1000 more toward the ER, increasing both its capacity and its range."

With the A350-1000 still undergoing development and not due for delivery to Emirates until 2015, Toulouse, France-based Airbus may still be able to reconfigure elements of the design. Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath declined to comment today.

Emirates has ordered a total of 70 A350s, including 50 of the -900 variant, which can fly 200 miles further than the -1000 but which carries only 300 people in the three-class configuration. The biggest Arab airline also has options on an additional 50 A350s and signed a letter of intent firming up 30 of those in 2008.

777 Revamp

Clark said Emirates is equally interested in a new 777 if Boeing revamps the model enough to deliver significant savings.

With its 787 Dreamliner yet to enter service, Boeing plans to decide next year whether to commit to a full redesign for the 777 or build a new wing to boost performance, something the Chicago-based manufacturer began discussing in June 2009.

"We would like to see an aircraft that's lighter, with or without composites, and more fuel efficient," Clark said, adding that the plane would need to fly from Dubai to Los Angeles in 16 1/2 hours with a payload of 35 to 40 metric tons, compared with a maximum 30 tons today. "It's a big ask. In the end they'll come up with something, but I doubt they'll quite achieve that."

'Room for Both'

Clark said Emirates may place more orders for both the A350 and the 777 for use on its longest routes if the competing aircraft are developed to its satisfaction.

"There's room for both planes, quite frankly," he said.

For Boeing, a revamped or all-new 777 would fill a gap in its lineup above the 290-seat Dreamliner. Emirates has about 90 777s in operation or on order, making it the model's top user.

Boeing is regularly seeking the input of Emirates and other customers and has the time "to make the right product decisions" that are aligned with available technologies and airlines' needs, said Jim Proulx, a spokesman in Seattle, home to the company's commercial headquarters.

"We are committed to maintaining our leadership in this segment and providing customers a product offering to do that for another 20 years or longer, whether it is a 777 derivative or possible new airplane," Proulx said.

Airbus's A380 superjumbo may also feature in Emirates' reckoning on very-long-haul flights as the aircraft's weight is gradually reduced, Clark said. The Dubai-Los Angeles route is within the model's range, according to the Airbus Website.

Emirates will introduce the A380 to Tokyo's Narita airport as soon as next September, when it begins taking the next batch of six to nine jets, due for delivery through March 2012, the CEO said. That will take the fleet to between 21 and 24 planes.

Bookings remain "very strong" on routes already served by the A380 and show no sign of suffering from the Nov. 4 engine blowout on a Qantas Airways Ltd. plane powered by Rolls-Royce Group Plc turbines. Emirates' superjumbos are equipped with engines from a General Electric Co.-Pratt & Whitney venture.

Monday, November 8, 2010

EK near miss at DXB

A major air disaster was averted on Sunday morning in Dubai when an Emirates flight took off mere seconds after touching down because another carrier was already on the same runway.

"Emirates flight EK523 from Trivandrum to Dubai landed at 0722 on November 7, 2010. The aircraft initiated a go-around sequence at the time of landing, after momentarily touching the runway. This is a standard procedure initiated by crew or Air Traffic Control to ensure the safe operation of the flight," said an Emirates spokesperson.

"The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and will not be compromised,” the spokesperson added.

The near miss involved flight number EK523, arriving at 7am from the South Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram. A passenger onboard the carrier confirmed the incident with Emirates 24|7, saying the pilot made this announcement over the public address system.

Dr Ashok D, 43, who was aboard the A330-200 flight, said: “The flight had already been delayed considering we were scheduled to arrive at 6.20am, but made landing at 7am. Yet, as soon as the plane touched down, it was airborne again within seconds.

“Many passengers were still asleep at the time, but the few of us who were awake were quite alarmed by this as the plane took off at a very steep angle – almost 45 degrees.

“It was within five minutes that the pilot announced over the PA system, apologising for the inconvenience, and saying that because there was another plane already on the runway, he was forced to take off immediately.”

Dr Ashok said the plane circled the airspace for another 20 minutes, before it landed “in a different area from where we normally land; the bus ride to Terminal 3 took another 20 minutes”.

When contacted, both Emirates airline and Dubai Airports said they are investigating the matter.

“All of us are grateful to the pilot’s vigilance, because had he hesitated even for a second, who knows what could have happened,” the passenger stated.

source: http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/emirates-plane-in-near-miss-at-dubai-airport-2010-11-07-1.314446