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Emirates Takes Delivery Of First Airbus A340-300

Emirates Takes Delivery Of First Airbus A340-300

Emirates has taken delivery of the first of eight Airbus A340-300 aircraft which are joining its fleet this year to meet soaring customer demand on key longhaul routes from Dubai.

Emirates has signed nine-year leases for the fleet with Boeing Aircraft Trading, which acquired them from Singapore Airlines as part of a wider deal. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates Chairman, explained: "Even with one of the world's biggest order books, we urgently need more aircraft.

"Dubai is fast emerging as the new 21st century global airline hub, thanks in large part to our visionary government, and this move will help us meet ever-rising demand for our service, as even the 71 aircraft we have ordered for delivery by 2012 are not sufficient.

"The new jets, similar in many respects to our Airbus A340-500s and future 600s, will fit seamlessly into our fleet and help us continue to give our passengers the very best value for money," Sheikh Ahmed said.

The longer-range A340-500 now operates on the Auckland-Sydney-Dubai route, while the A340-300 will be used on routes that include Perth-Dubai.

The formal handover to Tim Clark, President of the Dubai-based international airline, followed major checks, repainting and preparations for conversion by Hamburg-based maintenance, repair and overhaul specialists Lufthansa Technik AG.

Mr Clark said: "Carrying out major checks and adding eight aircraft to our fleet in so short a time is a real challenge. In Lufthansa Technik we have a partner familiar with the jets and extremely experienced at projects such as this."

The new aircraft can seat up to 12 people in First, 42 in Business and 213 in Economy. When full, and with 10 tonnes of freight, they can travel non-stop for 10,200 km, for instance, from Dubai to Japan.

Their cabins will now be converted to Emirates' standards by aerospace firms in France and Germany before they enter service with the award-winning airline from March 1 on routes from Dubai to Shanghai, Casablanca, Johannesburg, Perth and Osaka.

About Emirates: Since its launch in 1985, Emirates Airline has received more than 250 international awards in recognition of its efforts to provide unsurpassed levels of customer service.

The airline has experienced rapid and consistent growth, above 20 per cent a year on average and has been profitable for the last 17 years. Financially self-sustained and unprotected, Emirates declared a record US$247 million profit in the 2002-03 financial year, an increase of 94 per cent over the previous year.

Emirates is the world's fastest-growing full service inter-continental airline, one of the world's five most profitable and among the 20 largest ones. It is based in Dubai, one of the few cities in the world that pursues an open-skies policy, with more than 100 airlines in free and fair competition.

Its 59 all wide-bodied fleet includes four Boeing B747 freighters and is among the youngest in the skies, with an average age of just three years. The airline plans to more than double its size to 125 aircraft by 2010.

Emirates announced the largest order in commercial aviation history at the 2003 Paris Air Show, when it added 71 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft worth US$19 billion to its order book, which now stands at nearly 100 aircraft worth US$26 billion. The airline was the launch carrier for the new ultra long-haul Airbus A340-500, which started service in December on the Dubai-Sydney-Auckland route.

It also was the first airline to order the revolutionary Airbus A380 double-decker in 2001 and will be the main launch carrier for the innovative A340-600 HGW. With 45 Airbus A380-800s on order, which it will start receiving in 2006, Emirates is the largest customer of the yet-to-fly Airbus super-jumbo.

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