Super Jumbo History at Boston Logan
The event was held in the new section of Terminal E, designed specifically to accommodate the largest of the large in the airliner world. As I was escorted into the new section of terminal, I really did stop to think it isn’t often you get to experience that “new terminal” smell. It is well appointed, modern, and has a very open feel. Of course, our group being the only ones in there outside of the hustle of normal terminal operations probably contributed to the open feeling.
In true Emirates style, the event was nothing short of elegant. Uniformed cabin crew lined the red carpet entry way and guests were met with a choice of drinks by wait staff. While most events of this nature that I attend are usually attended by industry and media types, this one was different. Some of the unsung heroes of a terminal launch were able to attend.
My day job keeps me at Logan at least one to two days a week to deal with contracted services we provide to a legacy airline there. I have watched the construction of the new gates for several months now. I think that anyone who has worked in the trades can appreciate how professionals feel about the work they have completed. I also think anyone that has been involved in the behind the scenes realm of airport operations can truly appreciate how much it takes to make something like this come to fruition. Months of planning, permitting, bidding, constructing, and inspecting all come down to one arrival.
It was great to see that members of the MASSPORT team and the firms who built the terminal were there to see the fruits of their labor. Even the command staff of MASSPORT Fire, Massachusetts State Police Troop F, and Customs and Border Protection were in attendance.
The section of the terminal we were in provided a commanding view of the A380 while parked at the gate. If you looked closely, you saw a steady stream of airport employees stopping by to take a picture and take in the sheer enormity of the aircraft.
I was fortunate to be in the aircraft tour group led by Matthias Schmid, Emirates VP of Sales for the US, who was also one of the keynote speakers. As you have may have imagined, every detail has been considered for comfort and safety on board the Emirates A380. I had never been aboard one, and was struck by how roomy and comfortable the economy cabin felt. I was also struck by how massive it is.
My shock continued as we ascended the aft staircase and arrived at a bar. A bar! We went forward from there to the business class lounge, and forward once more to the First Class cabin. At this point, I may well have looked disoriented. First class is absolutely elegant. There is even a shower!
As I stood at the top of the stairs by the showers staring at the Emirates logo on the bulkhead, I really could have been convinced I was standing in a luxury hotel.
But I digress. There have been many reviews of this aircraft and this aircraft’s well apportioned interior as seen in the Emirates fleet. I’m certainly not going to do it justice in a few brief lines.
The big question on avgeek minds is whether or not this will now be a regular scheduled service with the A380. I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Mr. Schmid and asked him just that. The answer will disappoint the hardcore super jumbo crowd: “no”. At least for now.
The purists will tell you there is a natural progression to the Emirates business model where you see the service start with the 777-200, then move to an increased tempo of 777-300 flights, then switching to an A380. In this circumstance, there are other factors involved. The largest factor is choice to the consumer.
Emirates traffic at Boston is driven significantly by their relationship with JetBlue, whose multitude of flights see passengers arriving across a wide time span during the day. Emirates providing two flights on either end of the day allows these passengers options in their travel. It also provides two opportunities to move time sensitive freight as well as revenue passengers. The 777 offers a cargo capacity twice a day that Emirates is able to take advantage of by shipping food stuffs, pharmaceuticals, and other perishables. Schmidd explained that while cargo is a great opportunity for the airline at Boston, it is not a big enough draw to have a dedicated freighter. Sorry avgeeks.
While a regularly scheduled A380 from Emirates is not in the cards for right now, you never know what the future holds. Besides, the first class product is the same on the 777 from what I hear. Treat yourself. The journey is part of the adventure!