A new American Airlines 787-9 becomes the 100th Dreamliner out of South Carolina
A new American Airlines 787-8 becomes the 100th Dreamliner out of South Carolina

Emirates keeps sending Airbus A380s to cities where ‘experts’ said they’d never work, and Boeing keeps pumping out 787 Dreamliners.

Such announcements are almost daily arrivals in the email folders of air transport reporters.

Overnight Emirates said it would start Dubai-Birmingham (UK) A380 flights from 27 March, and to Prague and Taipei from 1 May. The new UK and Taiwan flights by the big Airbus will be in the two class 615 seat configuration Emirates began using on its Copenhagen service at the start of this month.

Boeing rolled out its 100th Dreamliner, a 787-8 model for American Airlines, from its North Charleston (South Carolina) factory, a measure of the crucial role this facility has to play in satisfying demand for the medium sized high composite structure twin jet. Boeing has an integrated production process using both North Charleston and Everett to roll out 10 Dreamliners a month.

The 787 family has quickly established itself as a growth vehicle for airlines serving Australia, with Etihad, Air New Zealand and Scoot all using it to this country, and for the broader reach of their expanding hub cities of Abu Dhabi, Auckland and Singapore respectively.

Qantas will take the first of eight confirmed orders for 787-9s late in 2017, and is widely expected to build on those numbers from its bank of options and purchase rights dating back to a landmark deal it did with Boeing in December 2005.

However its the way Emirates is using its fleet of A380s which has turned a lot of marketing mantras upside down when it comes to putting the biggest of passenger airliners into service to smaller sized cities.

The Dubai based carrier says it only has to turn up with an A380 service to fill seats with travellers many experts said didn’t exist on smaller routes for which the 787 was originally designed to serve.

Emirates currently has 71 A380s in service, with a further 69 on order (earlier figures updated). The A380 is a sought after jet because it has larger seats in economy class than most versions of most other airliners in service, and has room for bars and even bathrooms with showers for premium fare paying passengers.

It is also a four engined jet, a supposed ‘No no’ in modern airliner operations. But those four engines mean that A380s can take off with full payloads in extremely high airfield temperatures at Dubai and fly very long distances without the operational restrictions which affect twin engined airlines in similar conditions.

In a warming world, this could become a more significant issue for airlines in general, and not just those with Middle East or equatorial hub cities.

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