Engine Alliance is celebrating its 500th engine on wing. The manufacturer, a 50/50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney, reached the milestone on February 28 when Dubai-based carrier Emirates took delivery of its 90th GP7200-powered Airbus A380.
“We have a lot to be proud of as we kick off 2017. Along with the 500th engine instalment, the GP7200 fleet has now accumulated one million engine cycles,” said Dean Athans, President of Engine Alliance. “Passengers love the A380. Their excitement about the airplane motivates us to keep the GP7200 the quietest, most reliable, most efficient A380 engine out there.”
The GP7200, one of two engine options offered for the European superjumbo, now powers 125 A380s, accounting for around 60% of the global fleet. This includes 10 examples each with Air France and Korean Air, eight with Etihad Airways and seven with Qatar Airways in addition to those in service with Emirates.
Elsewhere, Engine Alliance has added two new engine overhaul centres to its network: Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre in Dubai and Pratt & Whitney Eagle Services Asia in Singapore. The new facilities will complement the company’s workshops at GE Wales and Air France Industries.
Emirates has taken delivery of its first Rolls-Royce (RR)-powered Airbus A380s. The initial three examples, A6-EUM (c/n 225), A6-EUN (c/n 226), and A6-EUO (c/n 227), were handed over to the Dubai-based carrier in late December and are equipped with Trent 900 engines.
The super jumbos are the first of the 50-aircraft order signed by Emirates at the 2013 Dubai Air Show. The subsequent $9.2bn deal with RR, concluded in April 2015, was the biggest of its kind in the history of the British engine manufacturer. It also marked a significant departure for Emirates, for which the rival Engine Alliance GP7200 had been the powerplant of choice for its near 90-strong A380 fleet.
Elsewhere, Airbus has reached an agreement with the carrier and RR to defer outstanding deliveries of the A380. The European aerospace giant announced last summer it was slowing the rate of production of its flagship aircraft from the current 27 airframes per year to just 12 amid dwindling interest from potential customers and a decreasing order backlog. The Toulouse-based firm confirmed on December 27 that it will now postpone the delivery of six A380s to Emirates from 2017 to 2018, while a further six examples will slip from 2018 to 2019.
Emirates has phased out its final Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, consolidating its fleet on the Boeing 777 and A380.
A330-243 A6-EAK (c/n 452 ) was the last of the airline’s 29 examples to be withdrawn from service, leaving the fleet on October 29. The jet had logged 60,000 hours since joining the Dubai-based carrier in 2002.
The final A340 to be retired was A6-ERN (c/n 166), which had joined the airline in 2004 and was also withdrawn on October 29.
Emirates has phased out 18 A330s and five A340s since January 2015, and plans to remove a further 25 aircraft from its fleet over the course of 2017 and 2018 as part of its ongoing renewal programme. This has seen the UAE carrier take delivery of 36 new airframes this year alone, consisting of 20 A380s and 16 777s. From November, the airline will be receiving what it dubs “next generation” 777-300ERs, featuring upgraded Business Class seats.
Emirates has confirmed plans to upgrade its Manchester route to an all-Airbus A380 service from next year. The Dubai-based carrier will switch the last of its thrice-daily links from a Boeing 777-300ER on January 1, increasing capacity to the British airport by 11% and adding 2,198 extra seats per week.
Stephen Turner, Commercial Director for Manchester Airport remarked; “It’s fantastic news that Emirates has chosen to increase capacity at the airport by using an A380 on its morning service. It’s an iconic aircraft that is hugely popular with passengers across the region. Emirates has seen consistent growth since it was first introduced on the Manchester route in 2010.”
Elsewhere, Emirates is also amending the timing of its current A380 service into Birmingham from a morning to an afternoon departure slot. It said the move will offer its customers even more connections beyond Dubai with other A380 destinations – ensuring a “seamless A380 to A380” experience. The super jumbo will now operate the last of the airline’s three daily Birmingham flights, EK37/38 (currently EK39/40), arriving in the UK at 18:45 and departing at 20:45.
Emirates will continue to employ its high-density A380s, configured in a two-class, 615 seat layout, on the route.
Boeing has dispatched a technical team to provide assistance to officials investigating Wednesday’s incident involving Emirates flight EK521 in Dubai.
Boeing 777-31H, A6-EMW (c/n 32700) was flying from Thiruvananthapuram in India to Dubai International Airport when it suffered what the airline has called an “operational incident upon landing”.
A video posted online shows the jet skidding down the runway on its belly and the right engine detached from the wing. Additional photos showed black smoke billowing from the jet and firefighters tackling the blaze.
All 282 passengers and 18 crew escaped the incident but an airport firefighter died tackling the blaze. Emirates confirmed that 157 passengers left the flight in Dubai as planned, 107 opted to continue their journeys while 13 others decided to remain in Dubai for a few days before continuing their travels. Five passengers were hospitalised with minor injuries and the airline has provided a dedicated staff liaison to support them. One crew member was also taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Dubai International Airport was shut for around six hours while officials dealt with the incident, resulting in a number of flights being cancelled. Runway 12L/30R, where the incident took place, reopened on Thursday.
The United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is leading the investigation.
All 282 passengers and 18 crew members survived a landing incident involving Emirates Boeing 777-31H, A6-EMW (c/n 32700) at Dubai International Airport, that saw the jet engulfed in flames.
A video posted online shows the jet skidding down the runway on its belly and the right engine detached from the wing. Additional photos showed black smoke billowing from the jet and firefighters tackling the blaze. The fire has now been put out.
The aircraft was operating flight EK521 from Thiruvananthapuram in India to Dubai.
“The Boeing 777 aircraft, departed at 10.19am from Trivandrum International Airport and was scheduled to land at 12.50pm at Dubai International Airport. We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew,” the airline said in a statement.
Manufacturer Boeing said it was monitoring the situation. It added: “We are thankful all aboard were evacuated safely. A Boeing technical team is standing by to launch in support of the US National Transportation Safety Board.”
The majority of the passengers on board were from India, with 11 from the UK.
As a result of the incident, Dubai International Airport is experiencing severe delays. Emirates said it was anticipating an eight-hour network wide delay and has cancelled a number of flights as a result.
An Emirates Boeing 777-31H, A6-EMW (c/n 32700), has caught fire after a landing incident at Dubai International Airport.
A video posted online shows the jet skidding down the runway on its belly and the right engine detached from the wing. Additional photos show black smoke billowing from the jet and firefighters on scene tackling the blaze.
The aircraft was operating flight EK521 from Thiruvananthapuram in India to Dubai and was carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew. The Dubai Media Office tweeted that “all passengers were evacuated safely and no injuries have been reported so far”.
A statement on the airline’s Twitter feed said: “Emirates can confirm that an incident happened at Dubai International Airport on 3rd August 2016 at about 12.45pm local time.”
Dubai International Airport remains closed while authorities deal with the incident.
Emirates is now flying twice a day between its Dubai International Airport hub and Los Angeles.
The first service of flight EK217 departed the UAE on July 1 and was operated by Airbus A380-861 A6-EON, which wore a specially-designed Los Angeles Dodgers livery. The scheme was applied to celebrate the new service as well as the airline’s sponsorship of the baseball team.
“We’re thrilled to continue growing our footprint in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States, and to be able to provide more flight choices to more customers daily as well as doubling the economic benefits Emirates’ flights provide to Southern California,” said Rob Gurney Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, The Americas.
The new flight, departs Dubai daily at 1500hrs and arrives in Los Angeles at 2000hrs. The return service – EK218 – departs Los Angeles daily at 2230hrs and arrives in Dubai approximately 16 hours later at 0130hrs.
A three-class Airbus A380 will be used on the flights, providing 14 private suites in First Class, 76 seats in Business and 401 seats in Economy.
July 1 also saw Emirates introduce the A380 on its flights to Vienna, making it the 41st destination to be served by the airline’s flagship.
The carrier operates two flights a day to the Austrian capital with EK127/128 operated by a three-class A380 and EK125/126 flown with a 360-seat Boeing 777-300ER.
The Emirates Group is in a celebratory mood after posting a record profit of AED8.2 billion ($2.2 billion) for the year ending March 31. This marks a 50% increase over 2014/15, and is the Dubai-based company’s 28th consecutive year of profit.
Commenting on the financial performance, Emirates Airline and Group Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “Emirates and dnata delivered record profits, solid business results, and continued to grow throughout 2015-16.”
The strong performance was driven by the airline whose profit rose by 56% to AED7.1 billion ($ 1.9 billion). Annual passenger traffic increased to 51.9 million, though the average load factor fell from 79.6% to 76.5%. The carrier attributed this to a strong increase in seat capacity, “lingering economic uncertainty and strong competition in many markets.”
Emirates has continued to invest heavily in its fleet, taking delivery of 29 new aircraft last year – it’s highest annual total to date – including 16 Airbus A380s, 12 Boeing 777-300ERs and a single 777F freighter. The new arrivals increased the carrier’s total fleet to 251 (as of March 31) and lowered the average aircraft age to 74 months, around half the industry average.
The carrier used its additional capacity to open eight new routes – to Bali, Bologna, Cebu, Clark, Istanbul (Sabiha Gökçen), Mashhad, Multan and Orlando – along with two new destinations for Emirates SkyCargo – Columbus and Ciudad del Este. It also increased capacity or frequency on another 34 routes across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Elsewhere, the group’s air services provider dnata enjoyed its most profitable year to date, exceeding AED 1 billion ($ 287 million) profit for the first time in its 57-year history. The subsidiary added that its 16% increase in revenue had been driven by “organic growth” but bolstered by the first full year of Stella Group operations, which dnata Travel acquired in October 2014, and airport operations in Australia which dnata fully acquired from its 50% joint venture partner Toll in March 2015. The offshoot’s international business now accounts for almost 65% of its total revenue.
“Our ongoing investments to develop our people and to enhance our business performance, enable us to react with agility to the new challenges and opportunities that every year brings,” Al Maktoum added. “In 2015-16, the Group collectively invested over AED 17.3 billion ($ 4.7 billion) in new aircraft and equipment, the acquisition of companies, modern facilities, the latest technologies, and staff initiatives. These will build on our strong foundations, extend our competitive edge, and accelerate our progress towards our long-term goals.”
Emirates’ financial performance was, however, marred by the global and operational challenges. Al Maktoum said the group had been hampered by “an unfavourable currency situation which eroded our revenues and profits, an uncertain global economic environment dogged by weak consumer and investor sentiment, as well as ongoing socio-political instability in many regions around the world.”
The US dollar exchange rate change had an AED6.0 billion ($ 1.6 billion) impact on airline revenue, though this was partially offset by the falling oil price that reduced the carrier’s fuel bill by 31% to AED 19.7 billion ($5.4 billion).
Looking ahead, the CEO was positive about the group’s forecast. “We expect that the low oil prices will continue to be a double-edged sword – a boon for our operating costs, but a bane for global business and consumer confidence. The strong US dollar against major currencies will remain a challenge, as will the looming threat of protectionism in some countries. However, we enter the new financial year with confidence, backed by a robust balance sheet, solid track record, diverse global portfolio, and international talent pool,” Al Maktoum concluded. “We will continue to evolve and grow our business profitably, and work even harder to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”