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Emirates Sets Its Sights On The Stars


Emirates Sets Its Sights On The Stars

Dubai-based international airline Emirates has set its sights on the stars -- literally -- to help it offer new levels of comfort and enjoyment to travellers, including New Zealanders, on ultra-longhaul flights from next month.

In an industry first, an image of the night sky, complete with twinkling constellations, will be shown on the ceiling panels above their heads -- to help passengers adjust their internal 'body clock'.

Research by NASA, America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration, suggests jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed, not the length of the flight itself.

The unique cabin lighting on the Airbus A340-500, devised jointly by the airline and Airbus, adjusts subtly to the passage of time. It changes almost imperceptibly from brilliant noonday sunshine to the softer light of afternoon and dusk, and on to the velvety darkness of a starry night.

Emirates is the first airline to receive the new jet, tailor-made for flights of more than 17 hours, with up to 12 First Class, 42 Business and 204 Economy passengers, and nearly 14 tonnes of cargo.

Its first service with the A340-500 will be non-stop from Dubai to Sydney, and on to Auckland, next month. From next year the aircraft will launch Emirates' first services between Dubai and North America.

Maurice Flanagan, Emirates' Group President and Vice-Chairman said this week: "All through our lives, our bodies are conditioned to react to light, and so reset the internal clock. It's impossible to overstate the impact this has on our comfort and well-being.

"Spending time under artificial light is reckoned to starve the brain of the stimulus needed to regulate the clock. On longer flights, this could be why some travellers may find it harder to relax -- and so arrive feeling a little tired and jet-lagged.

"The unique mood lighting on our A340s combats this unwanted side-effect by adjusting the cabin lighting to mimic the gradual march of daytime and night-time."

Mood lighting is only one of a host of special touches to make customers feel as much at home at 39,000 feet as they do in their own living rooms.

The ultra-longhaul aircraft has a host of new features to help redefine premium travel as part of Emirates' US $1.8 billion investment in the launch of this new type of aircraft. It was designed to meet and exceed the needs of every customer, with service standards to rival the comfort and luxury of even the most sophisticated executive jets.

Features of the remarkable new jets include fully-enclosed First Class suites, with flat beds and doors which passengers open or close at will for maximum privacy, quieter cabins and the world's most advanced inflight entertainment, with 500-plus channels.

Room-service is another Emirates first. Customers phone the cabin crew to ask for their choice of meal to be served at their seat, at the time of their choice.

The new Airbus jets spearhead Emirates' $26 billion aircraft order book, along with 26 Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft. These in turn will feature a special new travel experience still tightly under wraps. With orders for 45 Airbus A380s, the world's largest civilian aircraft, 20 Airbus A340-600s, eight Airbus A340-300s and eight freighters, more than 100 new jets will be delivered to Emirates by 2012.

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