Schiphol’s long wait for the A380 is over

16 Feb 2012 by BusinessTraveller
On August 1 at around 1330, history will be made at Schiphol. Emirates will bring flight EK147 into Amsterdam Schiphol from Dubai. Operated by an A380 it will be the first superjumbo to touch down in Holland on a scheduled flight – see online news February 15. By rights, Schiphol should have received Europe’s first A380 service ages ago. The Dutch hub has been ‘A380 ready’ for probably longer than any other European airport. Its fifth runway, the 3,800 metre long Polderbaan, was opened in 2003. It was specifically designed for the A380. Schiphol’s terminal has had two A380 double deck airbridges ready for business but gathering dust for several years. So why the delay? There are two main reasons. One is that home airline KLM has not ordered the A380 and secondly, as we have pointed out previously, the Dutch home market is limited in scope and what business there is tends to fly with the national carrier and its fellow Skyteam Alliance members. (Many if not most KLM passengers fly through, rather than to or from, Amsterdam). Even award-winning SIA, a Star Alliance member which has served Amsterdam for over 30 years, cannot make much of an impression. Its daily service to Singapore continues to be operated by an older B777-200 with seating to match. Amsterdam, unlike Heathrow, Paris CDG or Frankfurt, does not see SIA’s more up-to-date aircraft like the B777-300ER or A380. The fact that Amsterdam is not a volume airport for foreign airlines has frustrated Schiphol’s attempts to woo A380 operators. But Emirates is now confident enough to bring in its A380. After two years of serving Schiphol it will upgrade its B777 (which accommodates roughly 300 to 360 passengers depending on model type) to the A380 (with its more than 500 passengers). Key to Emirates success has to be the Dubai hub which connects Dutch travellers to destinations in SE Asia, Africa and Australasia and vice versa. It means Amsterdammers can access Indonesia while Sydneysiders visiting Europe can fly the A380 right through to Amsterdam. The A380’s kudos, its first class suites, fully flat beds in business class and more spacious economy cabins are bound to make a favourable impression on Dutch travellers. For more information visit Report by Alex McWhirter
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