The Airbus A380 just landing in Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport
An Emirates' A380 arrived in Rome today to join celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport, while marking 150 years of Italian unification.
It is the first time a superjumbo has landed in Rome. Today's one-off flight replaces EK 97 and EK 98 - one of two daily services between Dubai and the Italian capital. The aircraft switch enabled passengers to book on the A380 all the way from Auckland to Rome, via the airline's hub in Dubai.
"Bringing an A380 to Rome is an important moment for Emirates and Leonardo da Vinci airport and means another facility can accommodate the aircraft of the future," said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation.
"Even three years after we brought the A380 into service, people around the world are still fascinated by this quiet and fuel efficient giant of the skies. It is immensely popular with our passengers and these celebrations - for both the airport and the country - provide an ideal platform to bring the aircraft to Rome."
On the flight deck of today’s A380 flight to Rome were Captain Hesham Essawy from Egypt and Italian First Officer, Nicola Coviello.
"Today is an extraordinary day, a further confirmation of the successful relationship between Emirates and Aeroporti di Roma," said Elia Pistola, ADR Aviation Director. "Emirates' aircraft is the first A380 to arrive in Rome and we are going to celebrate this event as the first Italian airport with the complete operating infrastructure to accommodate the A380. The new loading bridge is a strategic investment for Leonardo da Vinci airport, since the A380 is the best aircraft to cover major and growing markets, as served by Emirates, via Dubai, added Mr Pistola.
Guests invited to a special reception in Rome were given the chance to explore the superjumbo - with its 427 seats in Economy Class, 76 Business Class mini-pods and 14 First Class Private Suites.
Passengers in all classes of travel can enjoy the much-applauded ice entertainment system, offering 1,200 channels of movies, television, music and games - enough to make any journey seem short.
Customers in First Class and Business Class can exchange tales at 43,000 feet in the Onboard Lounge, while First Class passengers can freshen up in one of two Onboard Shower Spas.
Rome, served twice daily, has been part of the Emirates' network since 1992. Coupled with a double daily service to Milan and a daily flight to Venice, the 35 weekly frequencies contribute to a US$ 4.6 billion trade relationship between Italy and the UAE.
With 15 A380s in its fleet, Emirates is the largest operator of the superjumbo. In July of last year, an Emirates' A380 landed in Milan for the unveiling of the new Fly Emirates AC Milan shirt. This latest visit comes the day after the UN's World Environment Day, fitting for an aircraft with such impressive environmental credentials.
After the launch of services to Geneva on 1st June, Emirates now flies to 113 destinations throughout its transcontinental network. Flights to Copenhagen start in August, while Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires will come on line in January 2012.