Emirates has brought Italy into its broadening A380 network after the launch of a superjumbo service to Rome.EK 097, which departs Dubai at 0910hrs local time and arrives in Rome at 1235hrs, is now operated with the popular double-decker, bringing an additional 34% capacity on the Dubai-Rome route or an extra 250 seats each day.“With the A380 forming part of the double daily service to Rome, twice daily flights to Milan and a daily offering into Venice, Italy is becoming an increasingly active market,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. The airline started flights to Italy in 1992 and the current 35 weekly frequencies contribute to a vibrant US$ 4.6 billion trade relationship between Italy and the UAE, assisted by Emirates SkyCargo ferrying commodities in and out of Italy through Dubai and beyond.“Operating the A380 out of Rome allows passengers in Italy to enjoy the Emirates’ superjumbo experience all the way to key markets such as Australia, China and Thailand, via our much-admired hub in Dubai, while boosting tourism into Italy,” Mr Obaidalla added. "The two daily flights that include an A380 from Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport are a further confirmation of the successful relationship between Emirates and Aeroporti di Roma," said Engineer Lorenzo Lo Presti, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A., "and validates the airport that serves the capital, which connects to 180 destinations and serves more than 110 airlines, as the first hub in the Mediterranean. Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport is the first Italian airport to accommodate for full A380 operational requirements. The new loading bridge load is a strategic investment for the airport, as the A380 is the best aircraft to serve key markets operated by Emirates through Dubai.” The 489-seat double-decker offers 399 seats in Economy, 76 fully-flat, mini pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites. Passengers in all cabins can sit back and delve into the more than 1,000 channels of the award winning ice entertainment system.On the upper deck of the aircraft, passengers can enjoy an Onboard Lounge, providing a meeting place for Premium Class travellers. In First Class, customers have access to two Onboard Shower Spas.The latest A380 deployment comes as Emirates’ double decker fleet rises to 18 with a further 72 to be delivered. The overall fleet is now 163-strong with 242 aircraft on order worth over US$84 billion. Since being brought into service in August 2008, Emirates’ A380s have carried more than 7 million passengers and flown more than 100 million kilometres. So far this year, Emirates’ A380s have flown around 61,000 tons of cargo.Nearly 3,000 cabin crew and pilots now support the largest A380 operation in the world, including Italian First Officer Paolo Coluzzi – in the cockpit for yesterday’s flight to Rome. The Emirates’ double decker made an appearance in Rome in June to mark Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport’s 50th anniversary, while commemorating 150 years of Italian unification.In July of last year, an A380 touched down in Milan for the official launch of the Fly Emirates AC Milan shirt in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group.