EMIRATES ACTUALLY FLEW INTO MALAYSIA ON 1 JANUARY 2012, ENTERING HISTORY AS THE FIRST SCHEDULED AIRBUS A380 FLIGHT INTO MALAYSIA SO THE CELEBRATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON 1 JANUARY INSTEAD OF 12 JANUARY.
Richard Jewsbury, Emirates' senior vice-president of commercial operations for Far East and Australiasa, giving his welcome speech
The Malaysian Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha exchanging gifts with Richard Jewsbury.
Kavin Martinus, country manager of Emirates with his staff after receiving an award
Captain Ling Kwong Yung flew us from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur on 12 January 2012 and he is the only Malaysian pilot flying Emirates' A380 so this is a big honour!
Captain Ling Kwong Yung and First Officer (Airbus) Bo Johnston. Both declare the A380 is easier to operate than any other jets despite being the world's biggest commercial plane
First Officer Bo Johnston looked like a movie star
Kee Hua Chee with the 2 most important men in the A380---Captain Ling and First Officer Bo Johnston!
Kee Hua Chee wearing the pilot's cap and sitting in Bo Johnston's seat upon arrival at KLIA and not during flight!
I think Captain Ling Kwong Yung and Kee Hua Chee make such a fabulous team up in the air
The VIPs headed by Minister of Transport Datuk Sri Kong Cho Ha and Richard Jewsbury, extreme right
Yes you can have your cake and eat it too
THEN AGAIN, WHO WOULD BE IN THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND TO ATTEND SUCH AN IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC EVENT ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW YEAR AFTER THE EXCESSES OF NEW YEAR'S EVE?
AFTER THE PARTYING AND DRINKS, MOST WOULD BE NURSING A MASSIVE HANGOVER OR DRYING OUT OR RECOVERING AND TRYING TO REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO BE SOBER ENOUGH TO DRIVE ALL THE WAY TO KLIA TO WITNESS THE INAUGURAL FLIGHT INTO OUR FAIR LAND.
VERY WISELY, EMIRATES POSTPONED THE LANDING CEREMONY WITH WATER CANNONS AND ALL TO 12 JANUARY WHEN EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE RECOVERED AND BE SUITABLY PRIMED TO WITNESS THE A380 AND LATER TOUR THE INTERIORS OF THIS MAGNIFICENT MARVEL----THE WORLD'S LARGEST COMMERCIAL PLANE AND CERTAINLY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FLYING MACHINE AS IT WEIGHS LESS THAN IT SHOULD, CONSUMES 20% LESS ENERGY AND IS AS QUIET AS MY BANKING ACCOUNT!
Since I had flown to Dubai on this very same A380 on 9 Jnauary, I was on the return flight on 12 January when the flight was officially inaugurated. I was supposed to interview the pilot Captain Ling Kwong Yung at the Sky Bar & Lounge but it did not pan out. So the brief meeting occured inside the cockpit upon landing which was even better as I seldom get to enter cockpits for obvious security reasons as I would not wish to see every other passenger entering the cockpit!
As expected, the AA380 cockpit was small and cramped and confined as far as I was concerned. Surprisingly, the two pilots, Captain Ling and First Officer (Airbus) Bo Johnston insist it was relatively 'spacious' as far as cockpits go! Apparently most cockpits are even more cramped and congested. "The Boeing 737 is particularly small by our standards and this Airbus A380 cockpit is just about the best. Mind you, we don't need big spaces as we sit at our seats to pilot the plane and once seated, we are fine."
I asked how it felt like to be in charge of up to 540 lives as Emirates A380 has this seating configuration though the A380 can accommodate over 800 passengers. I thought Air Asia would buy one and squeeze in 800 seats but now that it is pulling out of London and Paris, I guess this will not happen.
Anyway, Captain Ling said it did not matter if he was flying 540 passengers, 54 or even 5 passengers. "The responsibility is the same. One life is as precious as the other so the number of passengers is irrelevant. What is important is their safety and comfort. Making sure they arrive safely, comfortably and on time are most important."
Captain Ling Kwong Yung is from Malaysia and the first and only Malaysian to captain an A380 so we can be so proud of him as he is also flying the Malaysian flag each time he flies the A380!
He asked me if anything was missing from his deck. My eagle eye noticed there was no wheel!
How did he pilot the giant bird?
Grinned Captain Ling, "Everything is so advanced and hightech in this plane the entire flight is operated by computers! Though this is a huge plane, it is easier to fly an A380 than a smaller jet! All the important things are on this control panel on my left wall so everything is within easy reach."
As the flight to Dubai from KL was over 7 hours and less than 10 hours, there were only 2 pilots instead of 3.
Captain Ling's number two is First Officer (Airbus) Bo Johnston from California who looked like a movie star and is so blonde and blue-eyed I knew he must be from Scandinavia and I was right. His family hailed from Denmark originally. Being so tall at over 6 ft, I asked if his legs got into the way. "Not at all. My seat us adjustable and I will only be uncomfortable if I were 7 ft! Being comfortable and relaxed on my seat is important so I can concentrate on my job."
As for salary, I asked Captain Ling if the salary of an A380 pilot is the highest in commercial aviation and he nodded but declined to give his pay so that was that.
But he did grant me the immense honour of sitting in First Officer Bo Johnston's seat and to wear the all-prestigious pilot's cap! Indeed First Officer Bo Johnston had to ask permission from Captain Ling if I could sit on his seat. Sadly, Captain Ling refused to give me the cap as souvenir...
Kee Hua Chee in the A380 cockpit
Captain Ling Kwong Yung with Kee Hua Chee
A magnificent shot of the edible and inedible A380 from Emirates!
Another bird's eye view of the two planes
Richard Jewsbury, Emirates senior vice-president of commercial operations for Far East and Australiasa.
As we arrived at KLIA, the plane was given the customary water canon salute and we were thoroughly hosed down as the plane glided smoothly into the docking bay.
The VIPs, headed by Kavin Martinus, the country manager for Emirates, included Malaysia's Minister of Transportation Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
The arrival of the A380 operated by Emirates, possibly the world's finest airline, at KLIA and being honoured with a water canon salute.
MAHB Welcomes Emirates’ Airbus A380
Emirates’ Flagship’s Arrival Marks Historic Milestone in Malaysian
KUALA LUMPUR, 12 JANUARY 2012: Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, demonstrated its commitment to supporting the flourishing trade and tourism relationship between Dubai and Malaysia with the arrival of flight EK346 at KL International Airport (KLIA) on January 1st 2012, the first scheduled Airbus A380 service to Malaysia.
The world’s largest commercial aircraft landed in the country on New Year’s day witnessed by Kavin Martinus, Country Manager Malaysia, Emirates Airline, media, airport personnel and avid aviation fans looking on. The inaugural flight was also given the traditional water canon salute upon arrival in KLIA.
The official welcome ceremony took place on the 12th January 2012, along with a tour of Emirates’ flagship aircraft.
Onboard Emirates’ A380 on the welcome flight was His Excellency Yahya Abdul Jabar, Ambassador of Malaysia in Abu Dhabi, Tuan Razali Tuan Oman, Director Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Dubai) and Richard Jewsbury, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Far East & Australasia.
“Emirates would also like to convey its special appreciation to the Government of Malaysia and Malaysia Airports for their tremendous support and partnership that has made the start of the airline's scheduled Airbus A380 service between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur such a success. We are proud that Emirates was able to play a part in the latest milestone in Malaysian aviation history," said Richard Jewsbury.
"Our partnership with Malaysia goes back to October 1996 when we launched our first flight, and here we are today with 21 weekly non-stop flights between Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, plus the daily onward flight to Melbourne. The decision to operate one of the non-stop services with the A380 follows strong and increasing demand for flights, not just from business travellers, but leisure travellers as well," Mr Jewsbury added.
Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, Managing Director of Malaysia Airports said, “This is a momentous occasion for Malaysia Airports as we receive the first A380 aircraft scheduled operations to KLIA, marking another milestone for the airport. The aircraft's combination of passenger appeal and lower operating costs will not only play a pivotal role in the airline industry's future development but will also contribute to the growth in passenger movement at Kuala Lumpur.
“The A380 lounge and handling facilities have been ready at KLIA since 2007 in anticipation and support of the airlines’ growth, evolving business models and latest aircraft types. We are delighted to welcome Emirates’ flagship A380 flight into Kuala Lumpur and look forward to more flights in the future.”
Looking on was Minister of Transportation Malaysia, Dato' Seri Kong Cho Ha who attended to show his support towards this historic milestone for Malaysia’s aviation.
In his speech, Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha said, “Today, Emirates has set the benchmark for its competitors and peers alike in the air travel industry – by being the first airline to fly the world’s superjumbo aircraft designed with significant advancement of energy-efficiency features, to Malaysian shores.”
He congratulated the airline for the first A380 operations to Kuala Lumpur and also expressed his aspiration that Emirates Airline and Malaysia Airports continue their efforts to strengthen the partnership to allow the momentum of traffic growth to continue, which in due course will reflect positively on the economic prospect worldwide.
Also in attendance were Emirates guests who shared in the celebration of the special afternoon.
Members of the media and guests were then taken on a guided tour by cabin crew to witness the luxuries of the new aircraft.
About Emirates A380
First Class passengers can relax in one of 14 flat-bed, massage-equipped Private Suites; the cabin also has two exquisitely designed onboard Shower Spas, ensuring a revitalised and refreshed arrival.
For First and Business Class passengers the on-board lounge is the social highlight, featuring a fully-stocked bar and a selection of hot and cold canapés.
Business Class passengers can relax in seats that convert to flat beds up to 79 inches (two metres) long, whilst those travelling in Economy Class can stretch out in seats with a pitch of up to 33 inches.
Passengers in all classes can enjoy Emirates’ award-winning ICE (information, communication, entertainment) Digital Widescreen inflight entertainment system, which features over 1,200 channels of on-demand entertainment including Chinese movies, music and many Hollywood films with Chinese subtitles or language dubs.
The 489 seat A380 operates as EK346 departing Dubai at 04:05hrs and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 14:55hrs on the same day. The return leg, EK347, will depart Kuala Lumpur at 19:30hrs arriving in Dubai at 22:30hrs also on the same day.
Emirates’ A380 service arrives in Dubai at a convenient time giving passengers the options of onward connections to any of Emirates’ expanding list of over 100 European, Middle Eastern, African or American destinations.
The Airbus A380 is the most environmentally advanced commercial aircraft in the sky. The A380 burns up to 20 per cent less fuel per seat than today's next largest aircraft. Low fuel burn means lower C02 emissions and the A380 produces only 75g of C02 per passenger km, almost half of the European emissions target required for cars manufactured in 2008.
The Emirates A380 uses the Engine Alliance GP7200, which will save a further 500,000 litres of fuel per aircraft per year than other engine alternatives which is a key environmental benefit.
Emirates’ A380 offers a range of innovations to make the journey more comfortable and enjoyable for passengers travelling in all classes.
The airline’s fleet of 20 A380s are also currently operating on services from Dubai to London, Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok, Toronto, Paris, Seoul, Jeddah, Beijing, Manchester, Hong Kong, New York, Shanghai, Munich, Rome and Johannesburg.