Emirates Airlines will launch the world's largest commercial plane, airbus A380, services between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Aug 1, WAM news agency reported.
The new Dubai-Beijing-Dubai services signals the first A380 operation to China, and follows an impressive series of A380-firsts to New Zealand, Thailand and Korea by the Dubai-based airline.
The 517-seater aircraft will be deployed on the existing EK 306 service that departs Dubai daily for Beijing.
Emirates Airlines president Tim Clark said Monday: 'Emirates was the first Middle Eastern airline to establish direct air links with mainland China over seven years ago. The link has proved very successful for both of us and we are strengthening it further with the launch of China's first A380 service.'
'This new operation bears testimony of our ongoing commitment to China; offering enhanced capacity to the world's third-largest economy as it surges ahead with its international trade and development agenda,' he added.
'The A380 flight offers significant economic benefits to China by providing seamless connections between China and Africa, Europe and the Middle East via Emirates' Dubai hub. Today China ranks as Africa's second-largest trading partner with trade crossing $100 billion.
'Equally, Africa is China's second largest engineering contracting market and deals for contract projects exceed $126.3 billion.' Clark said:
'Trade between Dubai and China is on a steady rise, recording an average annual growth of 36 percent. Also, the UAE is expecting a surge in incoming Chinese leisure groups after the Chinese government granted it 'Approved Destination Status' last year.
'Although our A380 will support the growing demand for air travel to and from China through capacity enhancements of almost 50 percent, it will not be sufficient. We believe China's blazing economic growth justifies a further expansion in aviation links in the near future,' said Clark.
Dong Zhiyi, director and general manager of Beijing Capital International Airport said: 'We are very excited to welcome Emirates' revolutionary A380 - the first scheduled A380 commercial jet to touch down on Chinese soil. This is an important milestone for the future of Beijing Capital and aviation in China. We have made major investments to prepare this airport for new and larger aircraft that will be the future of the airline business.'
Emirates' A380 aircraft has onboard spas, lounge, flat-bed massage-equipped private suites, all-aisle flat-bed seats, mood-lighting, an entertainment system featuring over 1,200 channels and a bar with a wide range of beverages, among others.
Currently Emirates operates double-daily services each to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and daily services to Guangzhou.