Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

NZ wines get first class treatment on Emirates

Cabin crew member Troy Whittle in the Business Class lounge bar aboard an Emirates A380. The airline's customers drank 11.4m bottles of wine last year. File photo / Greg Bowker.
Cabin crew member Troy Whittle in the Business Class lounge bar aboard an Emirates A380. The airline's customers drank 11.4m bottles of wine last year. File photo / Greg Bowker.

Emirates is buying up New Zealand wines for its first class and business class cabins.

The airline last year bought more than 13 million bottles of wine- a record - and spent more than US$140 million on it, more than twice the value of wine purchases in the previous year.

The wines are for customers across all three cabins, and most will only be served on board in seven to 10 years time.

Emirates bought New Zealand wines worth nearly US$2 million last year. Among the New Zealand varieties favoured by the Dubai-based carrier are Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Labels included Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc as an airline-exclusive allocation.

Last year Emirates' customers drank 11.4 million bottles of wine across all classes, with 10 million single-serve bottles in economy class alone.

This was a 27 per cent increase from the year before, when nine million bottles of wine were consumed across all classes.

Since 2006, Emirates has invested US$690 million on wines, some of which will only be ready for drinking in 2025. The Emirates wine cellar, the largest of any airline, currently stores 2.2 million bottles of vintage wines.

In the last year, Emirates added 10 more wines on offer each day, and now has 70 different champagnes, wines and ports on its flights on an average day in all classes across its international network of over 150 destinations.

The airline today also announced it has placed an order with manufacturer Airbus for an additional two new A380 aircraft, taking its total order for the A380 to 142 aircraft.

4 Emirates A380s lined up at Auckland Airport. Emirates has 75 of the planes in service, with another 65 on order.
4 Emirates A380s lined up at Auckland Airport. Emirates has 75 of the planes in service, with another 65 on order.

Emirates already operates the world's largest fleet of Airbus A380s, with 75 in service and a further 65 on firm order. The additional two aircraft, to be powered by Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, are to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Airline president Sir Tim Clark said from now until the end of 2017, Emirates would retire 30 older aircraft from our fleet. At the same time, to meetgrowth expectations, it will receive delivery of 24 new Boeing 777s, and 33 new A380 aircraft including these two additional A380s.

Airbus has struggled to sell the double decker A380 to many airlines but Clark said it had been a big success for Emirates.

"It's a boon for our operations to slot constrained airports and we get a lot of positive feedback from our customers."

- NZ Herald

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