The Bombardier CSeries CS100 test aircraft on display at Dubai Airshow 2015 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
I was fortunate enough to attend the Dubai Airshow this year which was held at Al Maktoum International Airport from November 8th to 12th. As part of the various events and substantial flying program, I was invited along with my friend Bernie to attend a press conference and aircraft tour of the new Bombardier CSeries which was present on the static display.
The CSeries has been the center of much media hype and excitement even though it has not always been smooth sailing for the company. Despite the various challenges facing Bombardier at the present time, all the staff were incredibly positive and excited to showcase their aircraft on its first debut in the Middle East. Following a rather spirited press conference where many questions were posed by local media with regards to the regulatory and political complications of selling the aircraft to Middle Eastern Airlines, it was time for the AvGeek’s favorite moment: the aircraft tour!
The aircraft on display at Dubai is used by Bombardier as a test-bed – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
At the time of the aircraft’s debut at the Dubai Airshow, Bombardier was in the final stages of receiving certification from Transport Canada; as such the aircraft on display was a test model without an official certificate of airworthiness. In practice this means that there are a few extra placards on the aircraft and not all equipment is fully operational, however the interior and exterior are identical to what it will be once it enters full scale production post certification.
The highlight of the show, the Etihad A380 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
Ever since I booked my trip to attend the Dubai Airshow, I had been quietly hoping that Etihad would bring their flagship A380 to the static display. This was, however, a long shot, as Etihad only has four A380s in service; to take one out of service for an airshow is a big ask. Emirates had confirmed sometime out that they would have an A380 on static display, as did Qatar Airways, but these two models did not excite me nearly as much as the Etihad A380.
Boarding the Etihad A380 for the media tour – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
I could barely contain my excitement, when on the first day of the airshow, Etihad confirmed their A380 would make an appearance the following day! As the aircraft was only scheduled to remain at Al Maktoum Airport for a few hours before returning to Abu Dhabi, it was my first priority to go see this aircraft.
We met with the PR staff at the Etihad chalet and they were more than willing to give us a tour of the aircraft, even driving to the display from the chalet in custom-branded golf carts — talk about a VIP experience.
flydubai Boeing 737-800 landing in Prague – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
FLYDUBAI ECONOMY CLASS FLIGHT REVIEW BASICS:
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Departed: Prague (PRG)
Arrived: Dubai (DXB)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Economy Class
Length: About six hours
Airline flydubai is one of the fastest growing low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Middle Eastern region. Since commencement of operations in 2009, flydubai’s network has grown considerably and today they operate to over 83 destinations with a fleet of more than 45 Boeing 737-800s.
Flights to Prague commenced in December 2014 and, at present, Prague is the furtherest destination that flydubai operates. I decided to book my next trip to the UAE with flydubai, as their fare was by far the cheapest. Fares on the Prague-Dubai route start at US$230 for a round-trip (including checked luggage and a meal).
Not a bad view on the way to Dubai – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
As this was an LCC and a relatively long flight on the 737, I decided to pay the extra US$20 each way for an exit row seat, which was well worth it. One criticism I have is that at present, flydubai only offers on-line check-in on flights originating from Dubai; this means I had to check-in at the airport, something I have not done in a very long time.
Qatar Airways’ A340-600 at LHR – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
QATAR AIRWAYS A340-600 ECONOMY CLASS FLIGHT REVIEW BASICS:
Airline: Qatar Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Departed: Dubai (DXB)
Arrived: Doha (DOH)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Economy Class
Length: About 1 hour
On a recent trip to the Middle East, I had to take a flight from Dubai (DXB) to Doha (DOH). While the flight distance is only around 235 miles, with flight times rarely more than one hour, there is a surprisingly large selection of flight options. These range from low-cost carriers such as Fly Dubai right through to the full service options of Emirates and Qatar Airways.
As I had never flown Qatar Airways before, I thought I would give them a go, especially given all the hype about them being a five-star airline. Qatar runs many flights per day between the two cities, and they pretty much utilize their entire fleet on the route from A319/A320s right through to Boeing 777-300ERs. The type that excited me the most, however, was the Airbus A340-600, a type normally used more for ultra-long-haul 14+ hour flights rather than hot hops across the Arabian Gulf.
Economy class on the A340-600; the color takes some getting used to – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
I arrived at Dubai Airport Terminal One a little over two hours prior to departure. Having now experienced all three passenger terminals at Dubai Airport, I must say T1 is the worst by far. While the terminal is functional, the demand for the terminal far outweighs its capacity. It took me one hour, yes one hour, to get from the check-in desks to my departure gate. Most of this time was spent waiting in the line for outbound immigration. It was not that there were not enough desks open – in fact they were all open – but there were just too many passengers to process at the time.