Dubai: For the first time, the world’s largest passenger aircraft will land in an airport in Beirut, Lebanon next month, it was announced on Tuesday.
Dubai-based airline Emirates confirmed that it will operate a special one-off A380 service to Rafic Al Hariri International Airport on March 29, a first in the history of the terminal. The service is a test run, to check if the Lebanese airport can support the operation of a large aircraft.
“The airline’s flagship double-decker will become the first-ever scheduled A380 service to Beirut,” the airline said in a statement.
“Emirates is working with the airport to test the operations and necessary infrastructure to accommodate an A380 service.”
The airline said the service will mark a significant milestone in its operations to Beirut after 27 years of serving the market. “[It] will give travellers the chance to experience this revolutionary aircraft and the best service in the sky.”
The largest aircraft to fly to Beirut will offer 429 economy seats on the lower deck, 76 flat-bed seats in business class and 14 first class private suites on the upper deck.
The plane has two shower spas and a lounge.
The sky lounge offers passengers a venue to socialise, network and enjoy complimentary drinks, canapes and other special delicacies at 40,000 feet.
The outbound flight will depart Dubai at 7.25 am and arrive in Beirut at 10.30am. On return, the flight will leave Beirut at 2.15pm and land in Dubai at 7.05pm on the asme day.
“We are proud to fly our A380 for a one-off test service to Beirut, which continues to be an important destination for us in the region,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president commercial operations, centre.
The air transport industry, including foreign tourist arrivals, is one of the major contributors to the Lebanese economy, accounting for 12 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
Since it started operating between Dubai and Beirut in 1991, Emirates has transported nearly five million passengers, and since 2015, it has flown over 54,000 tonnes of cargo to and from the country.