Emirates unveils new Calif. routes serving Middle East, India
By Laura Del Rosso
SAN FRANCISCO — Emirates’ new non-stop flights from San Francisco and Los
Angeles to Dubai will link the U.S. West
Coast not only to the Middle East but to
destinations in India, for which there is
strong demand from business and ethnic
travelers, one of the airline’s U.S.-based executives said.
The flights from the West Coast will offer
convenient connections to other parts of
the Middle East, India and Africa, said Nigel Page, senior vice president of commercial operations for the Americas. Northern
California has a large Indian population,
and business traffic between the Silicon
Valley technology hub and booming cities
in India continues to grow, he said.
After establishing gateways in New York
and Houston, “it was obvious that the next
part of the U.S. where we needed to be was
the West Coast,” Page said during a promotional tour here.
Los Angeles and Dubai also have a business link because they are important centers for the international film industry, he
Page estimated that about 65% of travel
on the new San Francisco flight will originate in Northern California, and the rest
will be inbound. The vast majority of travelers will be traveling for business or visiting friends and relatives in India and other
destinations that Emirates serves, he said.
Dubai itself has a large expatriate commu-
777-200LR on the route with 266 seats in
a three-class configuration. San Francisco
service is scheduled to start Oct. 26 with the
same type of aircraft and configuration.
Flight times to Dubai from the West
Coast will be about 16 hours.
At San Francisco City Hall, Emirates displayed a mock-up of its first-class cabin, featuring a flat seat and 23-inch TV.
nity, including some 28,000 Americans.
About 600 travel agents and corporate
travel managers attended a launch party at
San Francisco City Hall, where a replica of
the airline’s first-class cabin was on display:
a private cabin with a flat seat and 23-inch
flat-screen TV with 1,000 channels.
Agents at the event said the new service
would have no trouble finding a market.
Currently, West Coast travelers typically
make connections in Europe to reach the
Middle East, Africa and the Indian sub-
continent. Agents said not only would it be
popular with business and ethnic travelers,
but they envision booking leisure clients
headed to India or South Africa on a one-or two-night layover in Dubai.
“Having a nonstop like this will be very
important, especially to clients who have
children,” said Ahid Barakat of Barakat
Travel in Elk Grove, Calif., a specialist in
Middle Eastern ethnic travel.
Emirates will start daily service from
Los Angeles on Sept. 1 using a Boeing
First A380 in U.S.
As part of its expansion this year, Emirates
will become the first airline to operate the
double-decker Airbus 380 to a U.S. airport
when it switches to that aircraft on its New
York-Dubai route Aug. 1. Page said he could
not comment on the A380’s onboard product, which won’t be disclosed until July 28,
when the airline receives its first A380 from
Airbus’ Hamburg, Germany, plant.
“We’ll be using a Pratt & Whitney engine
that will be very quiet and more fuel-efficient,” he said.
From Aug. 8, Emirates will operate its
A380 three times a week on the route.
It has 58 A380s on order and expects to
take delivery of the first five A380s by March
31, the end of its financial year. They will
have a configuration of 489 seats: 14 in first
class, 76 in business and 399 in economy.
The aircraft are also scheduled to operate on Emirates’ routes from Dubai to London and Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand,
later this year.
In other news, the airline launched
Dubai-Cape Town, South Africa, service
March 30 and will start service in July from
Dubai to Kozhikode, India, and Guang-zhou, China.
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