Evoking images of a circus clown car, packed beyond reason, Emirates seems to be looking into using their enormous order book of Airbus A380s as part of their efforts to establish a new low cost carrier based at their Dubai hub. They’re starting the operation with some smaller, 150-200 seat planes and focusing on destinations within a 4.5 hour radius of the hub, which includes most of India, North-Eastern Africa, the Middle East and central Asia.
Emirates has 58 A380s on order. The first few will be configured for long-haul travel, with premium features including shower facilities on board for their first class passengers. The LCC/regional service planes, on the other hand, will have up to 750 seats for some regions, and potentially up to 1000 seats for the routes that are based solely on price (Thailand and Saudi Arabia are mentioned in the article). Emirates has already acknowledged plans for a 600+ seat configuration that will probably remain part of the main carrier rather than the LCC, but adding a configuration with 1000 seats will be a pretty amazing feat. It makes Singapore Air’s 467 seats on their A380 config look rather weak.
I’m actually tempted to fly on it, just to experience the spectacle of that many people in an airplane at the same time, though I don’t know that it would be worth it for the lack of comfort or the experience of 1000 people’s worth of BO for a couple hours.
Update (3.20.08 11:35p EDT): Apparently EK is just helping get the LCC off the ground and will not be running it. Not that I believe they will really remain distinct, but that’s the word on the street.
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