15 July 2010, NEW DELHI, India (Press Release) – Emirates today wrote a new chapter in the history of Indian Civil Aviation as its Airbus A380 landed at the newly inaugurated Terminal 3 at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi.
With the arrival of EK 516 from Dubai, Emirates became the first international carrier to touch down a commercial A380 flight on Indian soil. Celebrating 25 years of India operations, Emirates has played a catalytic role in enhancing economic ties between India and the UAE. Trade volume between the two countries has significantly increased with a 53 per cent jump in the value of Indian exports between 2007/08 and 2008/09 alone, from Dhs 57.4 billion (US$15.63bn) to Dhs 87.85 ($23.92bn). The UAE now accounts for 13 per cent of India’s total exports.
The special, one-off flight of the 517-seat A380 arrived at the IGI Airport to a water cannon salute at 14:50.
A senior delegation of Emirates officials led by Richard Vaughan – Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations – and Majid Al Mualla – Emirates’ Senior Vice President, West Asia & Indian Ocean – arrived on this special flight of the Emirates A380, commissioned to celebrate the launch of the new Terminal 3.
“This is a proud moment for Emirates as we celebrate 25 years of successful operations in India, one of our most important destinations, not just in Southern Asia, but across our global network,” Mr Vaughan told a 200-strong audience comprising media, travel agents and VIPs, hosted by Emirates and GMR. “We started our operations to India in 1985 with 10 flights a week and have, today, achieved a feat that no other international airline has. “The access that the Indian government has granted over this past quarter century has allowed Emirates to invest and create a significant business by operating 184 weekly flights to 10 Indian cities. “Today, the Emirates Group employs over 10,400 Indians, which is approximately 28 per cent of our total workforce. The opportunity that India presents is one that shall help us further strengthen our ties with this country.” The momentous touchdown of the world’s largest aircraft reiterates Emirates’ commitment to the development of the Indian market.Emirates has always believed in developing markets and creating opportunities in every country it operates. This can certainly be said about the Indian market where the airline has grown from a relatively unknown carrier in 1985 to one of the largest and the fastest growing international airlines in the world. And, with an expanding fleet of modern aircraft, Emirates is well placed to meet the India’s growth requirements in the long term.
Speaking about the possibility of introducing the A380 permanently on Indian routes, Mr Vaughan said that with 11 A380s already part of the carrier’s fleet and 79 more to come, Emirates saw a “significant opportunity” to start regular services to India, subject to government approvals.
“We do see India as one of the key markets where this product will be able to do full justice,” he said, pointing out that the connectivity that Emirates offers through its Dubai hub is second to none. “Introducing it on the Indian routes is only expected to fuel further growth in the Indian economy and strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. We are upbeat about our plans and hopeful of being able to offer the product as a regular service to the Indian travellers in the near future.”
Emirates’ A380 is renowned for its First Class Private Suites, Shower Spas and Onboard Lounge for First Class and Business Class passengers, offering a wide range of drinks and canapés, as well as space to socialise or simply relax. Passengers in all classes can lose themselves in the quietness of the aircraft and the award-winning ice in-flight entertainment system. There are more than 1,000 channels of on-demand entertainment, including 200 movies from around the world, 100 TV channels, more than 500 audio channels, 100 video games and news, sports and business headlines.
Mr Al Mualla added: “The response received by Emirates for this momentous flight has been phenomenal. EK 517 to Dubai was equally well received by travellers from Delhi, with the flight being completely sold out within days of opening of bookings. This is a sign of passengers wanting to experience new technology and better services and Emirates is proud to have been able to extend this to its passengers from India.”