Qantas and Emirates Airlines Prepare the A380 for D/FW Arrival
The race to bring the Airbus A380 superjumbo airliner has taken off. In a statement made in early April, Emirates Airlines announced the arrival of the A380 to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport beginning October 1. Emirates will be replacing the Boeing 777 the Dubai based airline currently uses on the route between Dubai and Dallas/Fort Worth. The move by the Middle East Airliner was made in accordance with rival Etihad and Qatar Airlines' plans to add their own DFW flights later this year. At the time of the announcement, it was thought Emirates would be the first to bring the Airbus superjumbo to D/FW, but not so fast...
In a statement made May 7, Qantas Airlines announced the arrival of their own A380 to D/FW beginning September 29th. Qantas will be utilizing their superjumbo on flights between Sydney and D/FW. The Australian based carrier will be replacing the 747 currently used on the route. The larger A380 will give passengers making that trip between Sydney and D/FW non-stop option. Prevailing winds allow the 747 to travel non-stop from D/FW to Sydney but the return flight currently stops in Brisbane before reaching D/FW because the 747 lacks the range to make the trip. Though Qantas will be cutting the frequency of the flight from once a day to six times per week, the additional seats on the A380 will reportedly allow the airline to transport 10 percent more travelers in a seven day period.
D/FW Airport CEO Sean Donohue said the Qantas statement was "...outstanding news for our Airport and the Dallas/Fort Worth region, because it adds more seats to what has become a very popular and important route."
Emirates indicated their switch was in response to potential demand for business and leisure flights. The 777 currently used by the airline seats 266 passengers but the A380 will accommodate 489 travelers.
"The DFW area is at the heart of business, being home to 18 Fortune 500 companies," said Hubert Frach, Emirates' Divisional SVP. "The D/FW area is at the heart of business, being home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. It is also home to a diverse population and the largest urban arts district in the U.S, and is the established number one leisure destination in Texas. With the A380, we are not only bringing our flagship product to serve our leisure and business customers, but also demonstrating our commitment and confidence in the economic and tourism potential of the region."
Qantas cites productivity as the purpose of bringing the A380 to DFW.
"Dallas has become an important gateway for Qantas customers since we started flying there in 2011. It is the hub for our partner American Airlines and offers more than 30 destinations beyond the west coast of the United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico on their network," said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. "When you combine the A380 with the onward connections available from Dallas, this is a great example of the right aircraft on the right route,"
Qantas currently has the largest aircraft arriving at D/FW as their 747-400 seats 350 passengers. The upgrade to the A380 will have seating for 484 travelers.
Both airlines will utilize terminal D gates 15 and 16 at D/FW. The terminal was constructed in 2005 with the capability of accommodating the Airbus A380. The terminal is currently undergoing final preparations for the arrival of the superjumbo. The race to taxi the A380 down the D/FW runway is well underway.