Giant A380 aircraft might begin flights into DFW

02/26/2014 2:38 PM

02/26/2014 2:39 PM

An Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, may start flying into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport later this year. But which airline will be flying it remains a mystery.

The plan was revealed Wednesday on the agenda for the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport board meeting next week. Airport staff intends to ask the board to approve a $2.8 million contract to modify jet bridges at Terminal D to accommodate the huge double-decker aircraft.

The staff anticipates needing 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 bigger aircraft is Emirates Airlines. The Persian Gulf carrier launched daily nonstop service from DFW to Dubai in 2012 and has seen load factors over 90 percent on its flights, airport staff has said at previous board meetings.

Jim Baxter, an Emirates vice president, told Fort Worth business leaders last year that the DFW-Dubai route had “exceeded expectations” with the daily flight often close to full and 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 how seats are configured.

American Airlines, which is DFW Airport’s largest carrier, does not currently have any A380s and hasn’t ordered any.

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 Dulles routes.

Other international carriers currently serving 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.

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