(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Emirates today operated a one-off service of its flagship A380 to the island of Mauritius. The first commercial flight of an A380 to the country was scheduled in celebration of the island's 45th anniversary of independence.
The passengers, many of whom had booked especially to be on the unique flight, were joined by a top-level delegation from the airline including; Tim Clark, President of Emirates, Adnan Kazim, Divisional Senior Vice President, Planning and Research, Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations - Gulf, Middle East '&' Iran and Ahmed Khoory, Senior Vice President, West Asia and Indian Ocean.
Upon landing at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport the aircraft was met with a ceremonial water cannon salute and the VIP delegation was welcomed by Sarupanand Kinnoo, acting-Director of Civil Aviation, Serge Petit, Chief Executive Officer of Airports of Mauritius and Andre Viljoen, Chief Executive Officer of Air Mauritius, an Emirates' code-share partner on this route.
"Emirates operation of the first commercial flight of an A380 to Mauritius on such a symbolic day is testament to the importance of the destination in our network," said Tim Clark. "Our partnership with the country and Air Mauritius has been strong since we started our operations ten years ago. As a major partner of the tourism industry, we will continue to support the island throughout our network to stimulate in-bound traffic," he added.
"Our flagship aircraft is proving more and more popular, figures show that over 14 million passengers have now experienced a flight on the Emirates' A380," commented Clark. "Emirates remains committed to being a leader in offering our customers innovative products and services that provide them with an unsurpassed travel experience." "Today is an auspicious day for Mauritius and we are welcome the fact that Emirates has chosen today in the history of our airport to bring the first commercial flight of an A380 to Mauritius", said Serge Petit, CEO of Airports of Mauritius. "The A380 brings with it the opportunity to increase the number of passenger seats to the island. This is where the significant investment in our brand new terminal and airside infrastructure as well as all our drive towards modernisation would pay dividends." After a welcoming ceremony, Mauritian VIPs, media and members of the travel industry were given a guided tour of the A380 by Emirates cabin crew, several of whom are from Mauritius. Also joining the tour were a group of 150 young Mauritians from various regions of the island who got the opportunity to watch and play Emirates' award-winning in-flight entertainment, system, ice, before being given a special gift-pack to commemorate the day.
The Emirates' A380 is renowned for its First Class Private Suites, Shower Spas and on-board lounge for First Class and Business Class passengers, offering a wide range of drinks and canap?s, as well as space to socialise or simply relax. Its three-class configuration boasts 14 private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 427 seats in Economy Class. Passengers across all cabins will get to enjoy over 1,400 channels on Emirates' award-winning Digital Widescreen inflight entertainment system, ice and stay connected to the Internet throughout their journey with high speed Wi-Fi access.
As the world's largest operator of the double-decker aircraft, Emirates' fleet of 31 A380s serves 21 destinations including: Jeddah, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Moscow, Rome, Seoul, London Heathrow, Melbourne, Munich, Beijing, Sydney, Auckland, Manchester, Tokyo, Paris, Toronto and New York.
In January, Concourse A which is home of the Emirates A380, opened at Dubai International Airport. The concourse is the world's first purpose-built A380 concourse with 20 gates capable of handling the aircraft.
Emirates operates double-daily flights to Mauritius, served by a Boeing 777-300.