Refurbished BIA runway welcomes first A380

Published : 9:28 am  August 16, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Zahara Zuhair

A special one-off A380 Emriates flight, operated under the code EK654 from Dubai, landed on the recently refurbished runway at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Monday.

The double-deck Airbus A380 with four engines is the world’s largest passenger airliner.

Talking at the ceremony took place at the airport, Transport and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the landing of an A380 is a great occasion for the airline industry in Sri Lanka, as it lifts the confidence of the airport to the whole world.

“We are happy Sri Lanka is entering in to a new era in air connectivity. We are thankful to Emirates for being our airline partner during the good and bad times,” he said.

“This is a pride to our airline industry and airport. This gives a variety of experience to our staff. 550 passengers got down from this flight; the maximum number ever has come to the airport in a flight. The airport was able to handle it,” he added.

Emirates senior Vice President Commercial (West Asia and Indian Ocean) Ahmed Khoory said that this is a milestone event for several reasons.

He said that with BIA’s recent resurfaced and upgraded runway, this is an important development for local aviation. He also said it reflected the strong relationship between the two countries and showed Emirates’ commitment to the market.

“Given the Sri Lankan government’s focus on developing tourism, this is an important development. For local aviation enthusiasts it’s a matter of pride that their airport has joined the ranks of leading international airports in the A380 league.

He said even after nine years of its launch, A380 remains the most talked about airliner in the world.

“Emirates A380 is the ultimate luxury in aircraft,” he added.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of A380s having 95 aircraft in its fleet and 46 more are to be added, he shared. The Airbus A380 was designed to challenge Boeing’s monopoly in the large aircraft market.

It made its first flight on 27 April 2005 and entered commercial service on 25 October 2007 with Singapore Airlines.

Emirates commenced operations to Sri Lanka in April 1986. It operates a total of 34 flights a week from Colombo.