ECONOMYEmirates expands into Spain, Japan and Iraq

Airline is filling ‘massive air transport’ void in Iraq

By Jaydip Sengupta, Deputy Editor-Sports, and Sherouk Zakaria
July 2, 2012

Dubai: Emirates is expanding its flights to both the East and the West this month.

While Spain takes a run at its third consecutive major football title, Emirates will triple flights to the country, with the launch of a daily service to Barcelona from Tuesday (July 3).

The new Barcelona link comes two days after the launch of a second Emirates flight to Madrid today.

Speaking at a media gathering in Barcelona to mark the launch, Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ executive vice president, passenger sales worldwide, said: “The new Barcelona flight is the culmination of a very significant increase in our services to Spain. In the space of 48 hours, we will have tripled flights to this market in a clear demonstration of our commitment to Spain.”

Emirates Airlines also announced that it will now be offering daily flights to Tokyo on the Airbus A380 aircraft. The announcement was made to mark the 10th anniversary of Emirates’ flights to Tokyo.

Flight TK 318 to Tokyo was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute upon its landing in Narita International Airport.

Commitment to Japan

Richard Jewsbury, Emirates’ senior vice president of commercial operations for the Far East and Australasia, said that launching Airbus A380 flights to Tokyo highlights the carrier’s continuous commitment towards Japan.

Emirates Airlines also announced yesterday adding three extra flights between Dubai and Basra starting August 1.

The extra flights will increase the service from four per week to a daily flight service.

Saj Ahmad, chief aviation analyst at StrategicAero Research, attributes Emirates’ expansion to the Iraqi southern port city to the absence of Iraqi airlines.

“There is a massive air transport void in the country and carriers like Emirates are filling that gap,” he added, “Basra is an economically strong city, linked closely with oil production and other industries and there is a growing middle class population that want to travel in and out of the surrounding areas.”

Ahmad expects that until Iraqi Airways revives itself, airlines like Emirates will look forward to more expansion and increased frequencies between many cities like Erbil, Baghdad, Najaf and Basra.

“For Emirates, Iraq represents an opportunity for us to expand our business. We will continue to invest in Iraq, empowering the local economy and helping it expand its business and tourism presence,” Ahmad Khoury, Emirates’ senior vice president, commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran, said in a statement.

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