The Airbus A380 may have stopped production and will have its last delivery date in 2021, but Emirates Country GM for the Philippines Satish Sethi still believes that the wide-body A380 is the best aircraft to be utilized at NAIA.
“The A380 will still play a big role as it is a big magnet for our customers and we deploy them very carefully to high demand routes. The A380 is fit for busy airports like NAIA and it can best be utilized here. If NAIA does 40 movements maximum per hour here, 40 movements that include an A380 here is ideal,” Sethi stated during a recent press conference.
According to Sethi, the landing of a non-commercial A380 in 2014 at NAIA already demonstrated that NAIA can receive A380 flights. And it was not the only time as A380s from other airlines land, at least twice a month, to be serviced by an engineering outfit in its hangar at NAIA.
Travel Update found that the company, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, services mostly A380 aircraft in an exclusive hangar.
“We hope that someday we can use an Airbus A380 here. Landing is possible though the terminal part, taxiing still has some concerns, and safety and security are paramount in every airport so we are in discussions with the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) how we can mitigate and get over the technical issues,” Sethi revealed.
With 112 A380s with 11 more joining up to 2021 from orders closed in 2013, the country manager disclosed that the A380 will continue to remain as part of the Emirates fleet as the maintenance will not stop with many A380 from other airlines flying today.
“We have a close partnership with Airbus regarding its maintenance. There will be other types of aircraft that will take over. We have placed orders for more B777s, we have around 150 B777s right now and the 800 and 900 series will come in, and we have the Airbus 350-900s also on order and the Airbus 330 Neos that will start coming in. It will still be the wide-body fleet that will come out strong for us,” he stated.
Asia is the region where the airline flies the most, and the Philippines is one of its busiest routes. Last year, the airlines carried almost a million passengers, very close to its 1.1 million allowed capacity, operating 18 flights out of Manila, and 7 more on its Cebu- Clark-Dubai route.
With the intent to serve the Philippines better, Emirates has requested three more flights out of Manila to increase its frequency to twenty-one as a need for more capacity in more and bigger aircraft is seen.
The staging of the Dubai World Expo, the biggest event in Dubai starting October 2020 until April 2021 is also expected to boost visitors as 25 million visitors are expected. This will be an opportunity for Filipinos tourists and trade visitors to visit Dubai to view products and business opportunities by 192 country exhibitors, including the Philippines.