The Dubai-based Emirates Airlines on Sunday operated the world’s largest passenger airplane — the double-decker A380 — to the new Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

It was the first time an A380, nicknamed Superjumbo, landed at a Pakistani airport.

The one-off A380 flight EK-2524 departed from Dubai at 8:45am and arrived at the IIA at 12:20pm.

The special flight was welcomed with a customary water cannon salute at the airport, as its two captains — UAE national Capt Abbas Shaban and Pakistan-origin First Officer Qadir Moin — waved the flags of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates upon landing.

After a welcoming ceremony, government officials, VIPs, media and officials from the travel industry were given a guided tour of the A380 by Emirates cabin crew.

“The landing demonstrated the airport’s readiness to accommodate the A380, the world’s largest commercial passenger jet,” the airlines said in a press release.

Emirates currently has 104 wide-body double-deck airplanes A380s in service and 58 pending delivery, more than any airline globally, a press release by the airlines said, adding that it also recently announced a $16 billion deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft.

“We are proud to have operated this special A380 flight to Islamabad, the first time ever that our flagship aircraft has landed in Pakistan. The Emirates A380 is fundamental to our overall strategy, and bringing this popular aircraft to Islamabad represents a significant milestone in our operations to Pakistan, a country we flew our first ever flight to in 1985. We are very keen to now launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan and will continue to work with authorities to make these plans a reality,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla…. see more

source: dawn