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Emirates launches world's first commercial flight of the new A340-500

Travel News Asia 2 December 2003

The world's first regularly scheduled flight of the new, long-range Airbus A340-500 took place yesterday when Emirates flight 412 took off from Dubai International Airport on its maiden non-stop service to Sydney, Australia.

Emirates remarkable A340-500 seats 12 First Class passengers in the worlds first enclosed suites with sliding doors that can be closed for privacy. The new aircraft also seats 42 customers in Business and 204 in Economy, and can carry nearly 14 tonnes of cargo.

Flights leave Dubai International Airport daily at 10.15 and arrive in Sydney at 07.10 the next day, after a total flying time of just under 14 hours. The return flight EK 413 takes off from Sydney at 21:50, landing in Dubai at 05:30 the following day.

For the first time, an Emirates flight departed with two sets of flight and cabin crews on board, as required by international aviation regulations. Crews will change over after seven hours of flight. The aircraft features accommodation for crew rest periods and a host of other breakthrough benefits for customers in every cabin. 

After reaching Sydney, the new aircraft was demonstrated to a total of 250 selected Emirates guests in a series of one-hour flights, first in Canberra and then in Sydney itself.

Senior airline managers showcased its unrivalled amenities to 100 VIPs from government, business, media and tourism, who were given the opportunity of experiencing it first hand during the flights.

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: "We chose Canberra so we could introduce this extraordinary new aircraft to the Federal Government and to our friends in the nation's capital.

"The choice of Australia as the first destination for our A340-500 makes a clear statement about our commitment to this country and our desire to offer our customers here the highest standard of service," he said.

Mr Clark said Emirates is determined to add more services to Australia, such as a second daily flight between Sydney and Dubai.

He said: "Its no secret that wed like to offer greater frequencies to our customers to and from Australia's largest city - and the sooner the better.

Coming from the open-skies aviation environment of Dubai, where we have learned to compete without any government protection or subsidies, we believe consumers are the big beneficiaries of unrestricted access."

He added: Short term, protectionism helps a few at the expense of the many. Long term, everybody is the loser. More competition, not less, keeps prices down, feeds investment, trade and economic growth, improves service quality and hones competitors skills.

"We support the Australian Governments efforts in behalf of consumers. We remain hopeful that soon consumer advocates in the nation's capital will manage to persuade the authorities on the merits of an Emirates double daily service to Sydney."

Research has shown that jetlag depends on the number of time zones crossed, rather than on the length of the flight. To combat this, Emirates has installed a unique lighting system that adjusts to the passage of time.

The light in all three cabins changes almost imperceptibly from brilliant noonday sun to the soft light of afternoon and dusk and the velvet darkness of night. In an industry first, an image of the night sky above Dubai is shown on the cabin ceiling, complete with twinkling stars.

Passengers in all three cabins are able to enjoy the world's most advanced, interactive entertainment system offering 100 movies and 50 TV channels on demand, as well as 350-plus audio channels and 40 inflight games. 

Travellers can also stay in touch with office or home by making telephone calls, or sending and receiving SMS and emails from any seat.

The stunning and exclusive First Class suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout, and provide flat beds and doors, which customers can close for greater privacy.

In Business Class, the 2-2-2 layout gives every passenger an aisle or a window seat. The Economy cabin is quieter and more restful than ever before, with wider seats, more crew and more toilets.

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