Welcome to Birmingham Big Boy.

Emirates launch a daily A380 service out of Birmingham Airport. Jas Sansi went along to the unveiling of the world’s largest passenger airline.


You know that new car smell you experience in a vehicle fresh from the dealer, a heady mix of leather, walnut and new carpet, well imagine that smell on an aeroplane. The Emirates A380 had only 300 miles on the clock when it landed at Birmingham Airport. An overcast day stole nothing as it sat airside ahead of the inaugural flight this Sunday. 


How do you begin to describe a plane like A380? Sure it’s big, holds a lot of passengers and even needed a £1 Million new footbridge to be constructed at Birmingham Airport to ferry passengers on and off, but it’s more than that. A daily A380 service out of Birmingham is a huge story.


Birmingham Airport is the second smallest airport in the world that can boast a daily A380 service, Mauritius is the smallest. With record breaking passenger numbers for the past 11 months, a dozen new airlines being announced in 2016 and HS2 on it’s way, size is not something Birmingham Airport needs to worry about. The airport has heady ambitions and who would dare stand in it’s way?


CEO Paul Kehoe pilots the airport as well as his own aeroplane, a 1947 magnificent yellow flying machine. He showed me some pictures of it on his mobile. He’s relaxed about the Prime Minister’s decision on a new runway at Heathrow. Such a decision, if it goes ahead as expected will take a decade to deliver and in ten years, Birmingham Airport will be a very different place.


Birmingham Airport has the capacity to double the number of passengers it presently carries. Partner that with next generation passenger jets such as A380 carrying between 700 and 1000 customers, and an extended runway, the only way is up.

…the renaissance of Greater Birmingham and the Midlands Engine.

HS2 places Birmingham Airport 38 minutes from London Euston. It takes 14 minutes longer to travel from Euston to Heathrow. Proud Brummies may be uncomfortable with a notion of ‘Birmingham Airport, London‘ but we should embrace the opportunity of being so close to the world’s favourite city.


Back to the A380, there’s a link below to a series of images taken in and around this engineering marvel. Some quick and dirty facts; the wing span is the size of ten tennis courts. If you lay the onboard wiring end to end, it would stretch from Birmingham to Paris (320 miles) but would seriously inhibit the ability of the plane to take off. A380 is 7 stories high and can boast a maximum flight range of 15,000 km. A fuel load, the extended runway at Birmingham can now accommodate. Las Vegas non stop anyone? 


The arrival of A380, providing a daily service between Birmingham and Dubai is a big story but its part of an even bigger story; the renaissance of Greater Birmingham and the Midlands Engine. The confidence Emirates have demonstrated in their investment in the region should be saluted. It is confidence mirrored by Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Codemasters, HS2, TATA, John Lewis, Selfridges, Network Rail, Genting, Qatar, Mondelez, the list goes on and on and on.


It’s my 44th birthday today but the region’s success story is the gift that keeps on giving. As a region, we’re neither brash nor the first to boast about our achievements. But don’t you think, we’ve earned the right to inject a little swagger in our walk, a spring in our step and just a little bit of quiet confidence that we’re not simply keeping up with the pack, we’re leading the march. I don’t think we’ll start shouting from the Lickey Hills anytime soon, I don’t even think we need to. All I know is, if we wanted to, we could.


Welcome to Greater Birmingham, Emirates A380. Its good to have you on board. 


Enjoy the images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157666339699425


Birmingham Airport: birminghamairport.co.uk @bhx_official

Emirates: emirates.com @emirates



Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Greater Birmingham and a trustee of LoveBrum @LoveBrumUK

@jassansi      07930 837 505      sansi1@btinternet.com