Emirates Airlines, has reaffirmed its commitment to fly its giant 489-seat A380s to Perth as soon as the WA airport completes a dedicated boarding bridge now being built.
Speculation had been growing that the airline might defer plans to fly the A380s to Perth, announced in September, after the softening of commodity prices.
Emirates president Tim Clark said yesterday that while there had been some softening in iron ore prices, the future for WA was “incredible”.
The plane, which includes showers and a big business class bar, would help the airline handle the traffic generated by the “booming WA resource economy” and the proposed Qantas alliance, Mr Clark said.
Emirates will start additional flights to Perth from December 1, increasing from 14 to 18 a week before moving to three times a day on March 1 using various models of the 266-to-364-seat Boeing 777.
It is anticipated that Perth Airport will complete the dedicated A380 boarding complex by mid next year and Emirates will then operate a daily A380 service and twice-daily 777 flights to Dubai.
Perth Airport’s international terminal has only one boarding bridge per plane, whereas the A380 ideally needs three and at least two.
The proposed alliance between Emirates and Qantas, announced last month, will take effect from April, if approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
At that time, Qantas will code-share – sell seats – on all Emirates flights from Perth to Dubai and into Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Emirates has the world’s biggest fleet of A380s with 27. Another 63 are on order.
Mr Clark predicted that passengers would be the big winners from the deals announced by Virgin Australia two weeks ago to buy 60 per cent of low-cost operator Tiger and take over Skywest.
“Looks like we are going to have two big players and the consumer is the big winner,” he said.
“It’s game on.
“We will all be on our toes. You will have two strong blocks competing for consumers.”