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February 26, 2014

The A380 is coming to DFW Airport

Lufthansa A380 DFW Airport 01

Someone wants to use an Airbus A380 — the world’s largest passenger plane — on its flights to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. But the carrier remains a mystery.

According to the agenda for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport board meeting next week, airport staff will ask the board to approve a $2.8 million contract to modify jet bridges at Terminal D to accommodate the double-decker aircraft.

The staff anticipates needing the modified jet bridges by Oct. 1.

DFW Airport spokesman David Magana declined to comment on which carrier wants to fly an A380 into North Texas, saying, “it will be up to the airline to announce.”

One carrier that may be upgrading its route to the A380 is Emirates Airlines. The Persian Gulf carrier launched daily nonstop service to Dubai in 2012 and has seen load factors over 90 percent on its flights, airport staff has said at previous board meetings.

Emirates vice president Jim Baxter told Fort Worth business leaders last year that the DFW-Dubai route had “exceeded expectations” with the daily flight often close to full and was profitable for the carrier shortly after it started.

The airline currently operates the 16-hour flight with a Boeing 777-200LR that has 226 seats. Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft in the world with 44 in its fleet and 97 on order from Airbus. Its A380 can carry between 489 to 517 passengers depending on the configuration.

American Airlines, which is DFW Airport’s largest carrier, does not currently have an A380s or orders to purchase the double-decker aircraft.

But another possibility is American’s oneworld alliance partner, British Airways, which has a few A380s in its fleet. British Airways recently announced it will use the aircraft on service between London and Singapore and later this year on its London-Washington D.C. Dulles routes.

Other international carriers that currently serve DFW that also have A380s in their fleet are Qantas Airways, Korean Air and Lufthansa. Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have announced service to DFW starting this year but each has said it will use a Boeing 777 on the route.

Last September, a Lufthansa A380 landed at DFW after it was diverted from its original destination of Houston because of severe weather. Another Lufthansa A380 diverted to DFW in December, also because of weather.

If you want to know where the A380 is currently flying, check out this route map by Airbus.

-Andrea Ahles

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Comments

James

More than likely it will be Qantas. Ever since they started up operations to DFW they have been having issues with the 747 having the range, even with an additional tank added to it over what any other 747s have. Every flight during the summer is a gamble of if there will be enough fuel to go non-stop, otherwise they have to divert for a fuel stop.

Greg

I feel fairly confident in predicting it will be Emirates. QF had a batch of 380s on order that were lower weight and would have been used on the DFW route - those have been deferred. Additionally, DFW is apparently a 'loss leader' route for QF - no need to upgrade a route that is not profitable overall.

BA only have 8 380s, whilst EK have 45. And many employees around DFW have been told, and are hearing, that EK is 90% + confirmed on bringing the 380 to DFW.

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