Emirates - which is Airbus' largest customer for the A380 - took delivery of its initial 21st century flagship jetliner today, and also expanded the carrier's commitments for Airbus aircraft by signing a letter of intent for a total of 60 A350 XWBs and A330s.
The milestone A380 was received by Emirates at Airbus' new delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany, and it will be the first to enter revenue service with Engine Alliance GP7200 powerplants - which is one of two engine choices offered on the A380 by Airbus.
"Our congratulations to Airbus for having created a greener, cleaner, quieter and smarter aircraft," said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, during today's acceptance ceremony. "The future has arrived, and we are very proud to be playing a leading role in it."
Emirates will start its A380 operations 1 August on the Dubai-New York route, with this pair of international hub destinations to be served by three weekly A380 frequencies. It will mark the first time any carrier operates the A380 commercially to the United States.
After the inaugural trip to New York, the Emirates A380 will be making stopovers in San Francisco and Los Angeles for familiarisation flights at these two West Coast U.S. cities.
Emirates has a total of 58 A380s on order, and the carrier's current fleet includes four-engine A340-500s and A340-300s, along with twin-engine A330-200s. At the A380 delivery ceremony in Hamburg today, the airline signed a letter of intent that firms up 30 previously-placed options for Airbus' new A350 XWB, and also covers 30 A330-300s.