Dubai International Shows Off New Facility

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Dubai International Airport (DBX) has just completed the launch of Concourse A, part of a $7.8 billion expansion plan aimed to increase airport capacity to 90 million passengers by 2020. Home to Emirates airline’s Airbus A380, 20 gates have been equipped to handle the airline’s current fleet of 31 planes and with more on order, they’re going to need the space.

“With a current fleet of 31 A380s and a further 59 on order, Emirates is the largest operator of this aircraft in the world, and it is only fitting that we have a world class facility that meets this need and represents our leadership in this regard,” said Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline in a Breaking Travel News report.

Each of the A380-equipped gates, along with Emirates First and Business class lounges take up 28,000 of the 528,000-square-meter facility. The upscale lounges feature kitchens, conference rooms, business centers, a spa, entertainment areas, smoking areas and children’s play areas. First Class lounge passengers also have a duty free shopping area and a wine cellar.

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Like U.S. airports that have spent billions on expansion and updates, Dubai is looking to the future with a solid plan in place to be a bigger player in international travel.

“Concourse A is a vital element of our $7.8 billion investment in the continued expansion of Dubai International, which will see it become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by the end of 2015,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

Want to see more of the new expansion? Check this short video:


[Photo Credit- Dubai Airport]

Video: Airbus A380 contrails as seen from the cockpit of a 747 at 35,000 feet!

Apologies for the slightly confusing title – this is a video you need to see to really understand how cool it is. If you don’t have the time (or patience), scroll ahead to the forty second mark and watch the beauty of the Airbus A380 as it passes under this KLM Boeing 747 – just 1000 feet away.

This really was a rare opportunity for the crew of the KLM to record this event, and we’d like to thank them for taking the time to shoot it.

Emirates Airbus A380 taken out of service by a catering truck

emirates A380Of all the things that can disable a $300 million plane – a broken catering truck has to be one of the more embarrassing.

Sadly, this is the fate of Emirates A6-EDE, the seventeenth Airbus A380, delivered to the airline in April of 2009.

During a routine catering delivery at Toronto airport, the scissor lift on the truck broke, smashing the truck body onto the wing of the jet.

The plane has been taken out of service while repairs are made to the damaged wing. No passengers were on the aircraft at the time and the exact extent of the damage has not yet been determined, but repairs are estimated to take several weeks. For more photos of the incident, head on over to Cargolaw.com.

Thankfully for Emirates, they have another 89 Airbus A380’s in operation or on order.

Qantas Airbus A380 loses engine – drops parts over Indonesia

A Qantas A380 en route from London via Singapore to Sydney had a catastrophic engine failure 15 minutes into its flight. After departing Singapore, passengers reported hearing a loud “bang” followed by showers of sparks from one of its engines. Looking out the window, people on board the super jumbo could see parts of the engine skin peeled off, exposing foam and broken wires.

The engine parts started raining down on Batam, Indonesia – some as large as a door. There are thankfully no reports of injuries on the ground.

Despite the horrific looking damage, jetliners are designed to fly on 50% of their engines, so the plane was not at risk of crashing, though the cause of the blown Rolls-Royce engine will certainly be one that requires very close examination.

The plane circled Singapore to dump fuel in preparation for an emergency landing, which happened without incident. Because of the seriousness of the engine failure, Qantas grounded their entire A380 fleet.

In searching for a cause, one expert pointed to a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, and investigators will most certainly be looking very closely at the engine parts to determine whether volcanic ash may have contributed to the accident.

[Photo: Getty Images]

Emirates Airlines bringing Internet and mobile phone calls to entire A380 fleet by 2012

Emirates, the world’s largest customer of the Airbus A380 just announced that its entire fleet of super jumbos will be outfitted with in-flight Internet and mobile phone technology by 2012. The service is provided by Swiss firm OnAir, and will offer voice calls, data and text messaging on its entire route network using Inmarsat SwiftBroadband satellites.

According to Emirates, the technology has been fully certified by the aircraft manufacturer. The CEO of OnAir said: “There is no question about it being safe.” And to be honest, I trust them 100% – because OnAir is a joint venture of aviation IT firm SITA and Airbus, the company that builds the A380, so they do know a thing or two about their own planes.

The timing is great, as our very own Heather Poole explained in a Galley Gossip article why she demands mobile phones be turned off – it is the law, and she enforces it. Of course, once the airlines start finding ways to make money off in-flight calls, the dangers of mobile phone usage will quickly be forgotten. Obviously, the new technology still won’t allow for calls during the takeoff and landing stage of a flight, just to be on the safe side (and prevent phones from becoming projectiles).

The first Emirates A380 with OnAir service will be ready by June 2012, so one can only hope that passengers learn some basic in-flight phone call etiquette by then.

[Photo credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images]