The special event was organized to commemorate the beginning of the partnership between Qantas and Emirates. 

Qantas and Emirates Airbus A380s in fly formation

In May 2013, above the Sydney Harbor Bridge, an A380 from Qantas flew in formation with a second A380 from Emirates. Qantas says it was the first time two airline operated A380s will have flown in formation, and that the flight is “believed” to be the first time two different airlines have flown in formation together.

“There has been a huge amount of planning which has been necessary to make this possible including seeking approval from safety regulators in both Australia and the United Arab Emirates,” Qantas chief pilot Captain Philip Green said.

“Pilots from both airlines have conducted dozens of special simulator training sessions since January this year. Emirates pilots came to Australia earlier this month to conduct joint sessions in Qantas’s A380 simulator in Sydney and conducted several more practice runs over the past few days.”

The aircraft used the callsign ‘Seismic’ for the flight, as Emirates president Tim Clark has said the alliance between the two airlines “will cause a seismic shift in global aviation”.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the formation flight involved 520 hours of planning and seven, four-hour simulation sessions involving pilots from both airlines – “a huge amount of effort for just those few minutes in the air. I think that is a microcosm of the type of planning and the type of work that has gone into the entire alliance.”

Photo credits: Bernard Proctor

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