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Emirates 8 Ultra-Range Airbus Due in December

Emirates'New Long-Range Jet To Redefine Premium Travel

Dubai-based Emirates will later this week unveil the biggest initiative in its 18-year history to win and retain the vital custom of the world's frequent business flyers with the arrival of the first of its new fleet of eight ultra-range Airbus A340-500s, which will serve Auckland from December.

The new A340, the world's longest-range commercial aircraft, leaves Airbus' base in Toulouse, France on Friday for its delivery to Dubai. It will become the first of its type to enter commercial service anywhere in the world on December 1 when it leaves Dubai on its first non-stop service to Sydney, Australia ? with a flying time of less than 14 hours

The ultra-longhaul aircraft will help redefine premium travel as part of Emirates' US $1.8 billion investment to meet and exceed the needs of every customer, with an imaginative range of benefits and a level of service to rival the personal comfort and luxury of even the most sophisticated executive jets.

The new A340s, tailor-made for flights over 17 hours, for instance Dubai-San Francisco, will carry up to 12 First Class, 42 Business and 204 Economy passengers, and nearly 14 tonnes of cargo. Initially they will serve Australia and New Zealand, and from next year, North America.

Emirates' 54 aircraft already serve 70 cities in 50 countries, and Brisbane is joining its network from October 27. The airline has already made detailed plans to serve many new cities, taking advantage of the jet's tremendous range to redraw the world's air routes, while its designer interior will be home to a host of innovations to captivate customers in every cabin.

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These include 12 fully-enclosed First Class suites with flat beds and doors which can be open or closed at will for privacy; quieter cabins; revolutionary lighting to help reset body clocks and minimise jetlag; the world's most advanced inflight entertainment, with 500-plus channels; and Room Service, an Emirates first. Customers phone the galley to order meals, served at their seat at the time of their choice.

Inside the aircraft, the quietest in service, noise-cancelling headsets will help them enjoy the huge variety of inflight programmes, from classic films to opera. Emirates was the world's first airline with personal seatback TVs in all three cabins, from 1992, and first with personal Business Class video players, from 1998.

Business Class seats are laid out 2-2-2, putting everyone beside either an aisle or window, and adjust at the touch of a button. Emirates Economy has also been redesigned to make cabins quieter and more restful, with wider, more comfortable 2-4-2 seats and nine-inch personal video screens -- larger than in almost every other Economy class. There will be extra crew to cosset travellers and serve Emirates' award-winning cuisine, and more toilets for customers' special convenience. NEW LONGHAUL JET ? 2

One feature remains unchanged: every passenger in any seat on board can phone anyone anywhere in the world for just US $5 a minute, using an individual handset controller to access the lowest-cost and most widely-used inflight phone system in the skies.

The new A340-500s form the spearhead of 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 A340-600s, eight Airbus A340-300s and eight freighters, more than 100 new jets will be delivered to Emirates by 2012.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates Chairman, said: "From April 2005 we expect to bring in one new aircraft every month for the next seven years. With them we will spread our wings to become a truly global carrier serving all major business and leisure centres.

"Our A340-500s will be able to fly easily from Dubai to New Zealand or the US West Coast. Quite simply they will help make Dubai the new 21st century world airline hub, redrawing the route map thanks to their key customer benefit -- swift and comfortable non-stop services," he said.

"This remarkable aircraft will be a world first in so many, many ways. We are totally reinventing longhaul travel so our passengers can enjoy everything they expect to find in First Class - and much, much more.

"Thanks to the A340's remarkable range, and its host of extra features to tempt travellers from take off to touch down, flying will again become a pleasure, not a chore, and with levels of comfort to match those they expect from their favourite hotel," Sheikh Ahmed said.

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