EMIRATES’ A380s TOPS AGENDA AT AIRPORT SERVICES MEETING
Emirates’ giant Airbus A380, due to become a familiar sight in Gulf skies, was top of the agenda at a recent meeting of the Gulf Airports Services Association (GASA) in Dubai.
Clive Clemson, Vice President Emirates Operations Services, gave GASA members an update on how Emirates – one of the world’s first A380 operators with 45 on order – is progressing with plans to put the new double-deck aircraft into service at its Dubai International Airport hub.
Tom Lewis, Senior Vice President Dnata Airport Operations, said the A380’s visit to the Dubai Air Show had been valuable for testing new and existing ground handling equipment to be used when the aircraft enters service with Emirates.
Emirates will be the first Middle East airline to operate the A380. The aircraft has also been ordered by Qatar Airways and Etihad, and will be handled at Doha and Abu Dhabi airports.
The GASA meeting, chaired by Ismail Ali Albanna, Executive Vice President Dnata, was attended by senior members of Dnata, Abu Dhabi Airport Services, Bahrain Airport Services, Fujairah International Airport, Kuwait Aviation Services Company, National Aviation Services of Kuwait, Oman Aviation Services, Qatar Aviation Services, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, Sharjah Airport Authority and United Aircraft Services of Saudi Arabia.
GASA, an association of regional non-airline ground handling agencies, meets regularly to explore ways to work more closely together through exchange of ideas on procedures, documentation, equipment and training, for more cost-effective handling and improved services.
The 11 agencies provide handling at Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Fujairah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Ras Al Khaimah, Riyadh and Sharjah airports. GASA was one of the founder members of the IATA Ground Handling Council and has been a solid supporter of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO). Although competition for business is keen among Gulf airports, GASA members realise that efforts to improve standards in general throughout the region will attract additional airlines for the benefit of all.