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RAWALPINDI: Emirates will be launching scheduled flights of its super jet Airbus A380 in Pakistan with its first landing expected to take place at the new Islamabad International Airport on July 7 this year.

According to official sources, the Emirates airline management had sought permission from the Civil Aviation authority (CAA) for launching scheduled flights of its passenger jet A380 to the new Islamabad airport.

“The new airport has all the facilities for handling the world’s largest passenger airplane. Therefore, they wanted to launch this operation,” a CAA official said.

He added that the application was in process as many other departments are involved in the operation of a flight or the landing of a large plane when it is a double-decked jetliner.

He said a decision will be made in a few days and that the new airport has a four level passenger terminal building with two runways, taxi way aprons and parking bays for wide-body aircraft. Aircraft such as A380, Boeing 777 and the Airbus A350 can also land at this airport.

The double-decked jetliner A380 could not be landed at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport due to its short runway and the low weight bearing capacity of the runway.

A CAA official said the old runway was 11,000 feet while the runway at the new airport has the required length of 12,000 feet and the capacity to bear the weight of the double-decked jetliner.

There are 15 passenger bridges at the new airport- 10 for international flights and five for domestic passengers.

There are two passenger bridges of category “F” used for the double-decked jetliner Airbus A380 available at the new airport – bridge 6 and bridge 7. Category “E” bridges are used for Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and Airbus A330, while category D bridges are used for 757, 767, A310 and A300 whereas category C bridges are used for A320, 737-700 airplanes.

A spokesperson for Emirates airlines told Dawn that the airline can confirm that it will launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan in July, 2018. The airline is currently in the middle of planning the operation and will disclose the inaugural date and flight details in due time.

The A380 is the world’s largest passenger four engine jetliner, having a seating capacity, with various configurations, of between 489 and 615 passengers.

The Emirates airbus A380 will receive a celebratory water cannon salute as it arrives at the new airport. Hundreds of aviation fans are likely to turn up at the airport to watch the landing.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018