New Airbus arrives at SFO

August 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The biggest commercial airliner in the world landed at San Francisco International on Monday. Emirates Airline claims its airbus a380, is more fuel efficient per passenger mile, than a hybrid car.

Its not just jumbo, it's super-jumbo. The emirates airline a380 has 399 economy seats on the lower level, 76 business class and 14 first class seats on the upper level -- for a grand total of 489.

A $14,000 first-class ticket between New York and Dubai will get you access to the bar and a shower.

The landing at SFO was for media and VIP's. Emirates started flying the a380 into New York last week. The airline will start service at lax in October and SFO in December, but with smaller Boeing 777s.

Emirates Airline is bringing with it sales jobs in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"And also we're basing customer relations out there as well, which is a new departure because our customer relations department is purely in New York, but we want to give better time zone coverage so we are going to start there as well," said Emirates Airline Senior Vice President Nigel Page.

The Middle Eastern, Dubai-based airline is growing. It has $58 billion worth of airplanes on order, including a $9.7 billion order for 42 Boeing 777'S.

Page says there's no basis for comparison with faltering U.S. carriers.

"It's really unfair to compare us with U.S. major domestic and international carriers because we are a completely different business module, we don't operate domestically in the U.S. and we don't have some of the challenges the other airlines have," said Page.

In good weather, planes land side-by-side at SFO. But with a wingspan of nearly 262 feet, the 380's are too big to land parallel with others planes. Still, plans to expand the airport runways have been shelved.

"We don't expect it to be a problem because even 10 years out from now we might accommodate 10 or 12 A380s a day. So they won't be here in significant amounts to impact our operations," said airport director John Martin.

Emirates says it might start A380 service at SFO someday, but it has to see how it goes with the smaller planes first.

To learn more about the Airbus jet visit to SFO, read:

  • Heather Ishimaru 's Back Story.
  • Anne Makovec's Back Story


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