WAM DUBAI, Jan. 28, 2009 Emirates Airline announced that it would begin operating its ultra-modern and environmentally friendly A380 aircraft to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport from November 2009.
The new service is timed to coincide with Visit Korea Year in 2010, where the national government and the city of Seoul are joining forces with the private sector to promote South Korea as a destination for international tourism.
The new service represents the aviation world’s first A380 operation to Seoul, as well as Emirates’ first A380 service to North East Asia. It follows the successful deployment of Emirates’ A380s to New York and London, and soon-to-be-launched Sydney and Auckland.
Trade between South Korea and the UAE has grown by more than 150% over the past five years and is now worth over USD16 billion dollars a year. Growing economic relations is the result of a series of joint initiatives including the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to South Korea, and subsequent visits by the Korean Chamber of Commerce ‘&’ Industry to the UAE.
The Samsung Corporation is currently completing construction of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai, which will open later this year. South Korean exports to the UAE grew by over 50% in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. Emirates leading export goods from South Korea in 2008 were mobile phones headed for Dubai and the Middle East.
Emirates’ A380 service will also support the South Korean government’s drive to make Incheon International Airport a major Asian hub.
“Seoul has been an extremely successful market for Emirates since we introduced services in 2005. In 2004 just 37,000* passengers a year travelled between Dubai and Seoul where as today it is over 260,000*. This new aircraft will allow us to further develop this market as well as encourage more tourism and trade to South Korea,” the Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said.
“Incheon International Airport has invested significantly to prepare its infrastructure for A380 operations and we thank them and our ground handlers, Swissport, for their hard work to ensure the airport is so well equipped for our A380,” Sheikh Ahmed added.
The President and CEO of Incheon International Airport, CW Lee said the development was an important milestone. “This is an important milestone for the future of Incheon and aviation in South Korea. We have made major investments worth USD 4 billion to prepare the airport for the A380 and we are very happy to be soon welcoming this important aircraft,” he said.
“Incheon has won the world’s best customer service award three years in a row and introducing the A380 to Seoul will ensure the customer experience continues to blossom,” Mr Lee added.
Swissport Korea President, J.W. Kim noted that the “Incheon International Airport will be ready and well prepared for the A380 with new push-back tugs and de-icing equipment amongst other investments. Our specially trained staff are looking forward to welcoming the world’s most advanced new aircraft to South Korea.” The A380 is the world’s most environmentally-advanced aircraft with significant reductions in noise, emissions and fuel burn compared to other comparable aircraft.
Emirates A380’s revolutionary in-flight product includes onboard shower spas in the First Class cabin featuring signature products by the airline’s premium spa brand, Timeless Spa. The onboard lounge for First and Business class customers mirrors the ambience of an executive club and includes a bar with a wide range of beverages and canaps.
With flat-bed massage-equipped private suites in First Class, a new generation of intelligent seating and flat-beds in Business Class, mood-lighting, and a second-to-none in-flight entertainment system featuring over 1000 channels of on-demand entertainment, the Emirates’ A380 introduces a whole new dimension to luxury air travel.
Emirates currently operates daily flights to Seoul operated by a Boeing 777