Emirates placed its initial order for what was then dubbed the A3XX in April 2000 when it signed for 5 passenger and two freight aircraft. The deal was confirmed in November 2001 when a further 15 aircraft were confirmed. A further 21 aircraft were ordered in 2003. The two freighters orders were converted to passenger aircraft in 2006 and a further 15 aircraft were ordered in 2007. Thus Emirates had committed to a 58 aircraft fleet before it had taken delivery of its first aircraft.
Emirates grabbed the headlines with its First Class cabin configuration which includes private cabin suites and two on board showers. However these were reported to be behind some early problems the airline experienced with the type. These issues prompted the airline to create a large presentation which was given to Airbus in Toulouse in February 2009. However orders for a further 32 aircraft were announced in June 2010.
The A380 entered Emirates service on 1 August 2008 when A6-
Special workings for publicity purposes have operated from Dubai to Birmingham, Delhi, Hamburg, Kuwait, Milan Malpensa, Moscow Domedodovo, Riyadh and San Francisco.
The A380 fleet is fitted in two configurations, the Ultra Long Range (internally coded 38L) which features 399 Economy seats and has a large crew rest area in the centre of the rear lower deck cabin and the Long Range (internally coded 38M) which features 427 Economy seats. Both versions feature 14 First Class Suites and 76 Business Class seats on the upper deck. The New York, Toronto and Sydney and Auckland services require use of the 38L whereas all other current routes can be operated by both types.