Emirates may bring 'superjumbo' Airbus to Dublin
Dubai-headquartered Emirates airline is considering deploying the world's biggest airliner - Airbus's A380 - on the Dublin-Dubai route.
This comes as the airline is faced with increased competition from Qatar Airways, which joins Emirates and local rival Etihad on the route this summer.
Enda Corneille, Ireland country manager for Emirates said: "The A380 is probably our most formidable tool worldwide, We've 89 A380s and a further 50 coming in the next three years," he said.
"If you look at our trajectory in the Irish market, it is a natural progression as we grow capacity. What you really want is your largest aircraft on any route.
"We have a lot of aircraft coming down the track and if Dublin continues to perform as well as it's performing it's going to be one of the candidates for deployment of the A380."
While the Dublin runway is not an issue in negotiations, the double-deck plane would require capital investment at Dublin Airport to accommodate two storeys of access bridges.
A spokesperson for the DAA confirmed that the airport has already looked at the issue of A380 facilities as part of its future-proofing planning.
Corneille also joined calls to protect Ireland's 'soft' border with the North, which is now a key source of business for international airlines operating at Dublin airport.
He said the airline "hasn't seen any material impact from Brexit", a significant amount of his passengers travel from Northern Ireland to use Dublin Airport.
The latest Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) figures show that 1.2 million people from Northern Ireland used the airport in 2015. This represents a 37pc rise and it is continuing to grow. In addition, one million inbound passengers used Dublin as a gateway to Northern Ireland.
Emirates took control of the Northern Ireland business from its UK arm in 2015, and employs staff actively selling full-time in that market. "Our business in Northern Ireland is growing at a rate of 51pc year-on-year," Corneille said.
"For us in Ireland, ensuring that border doesn't become a hard border would enable our customers in Ireland to travel up and down." With Britain's Brexit strategy still evolving, he said "we're hopefully optimistic that isn't going to become an issue for us".
Sunday Indo Business