Emirates Airline on Thursday operated the first commercial service from the Middle East to South Australia with the start of scheduled flights from Dubai to Adelaide.
Emirates flight EK440 will operate four times weekly, serviced by Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, increasing to daily services from 1 February 2013.
Emirates’ service between Adelaide and Dubai marks South Australia’s first non-stop flight link with the Middle East, opening new trade opportunities between the two regions.
“We are investing in South Australia for the long haul, dedicating a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to the route fitted with our highest on-board product offering and employing more than 150 South Australians in airline and airport service,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Far East & Australasia.
“When the service becomes daily from 1 February, it will mean nearly 5,000 additional international seats per week on the route, representing a 30 per cent increase for the market, boosting jobs and investment in South Australia’s AUS$53bn tourism sector and adding 14 tonnes of commercial cargo space on each flight,” he added.
The new service will carry more than 200,000 passengers each year between South Australia and Dubai, with the UK and Europe expected to be strongest markets for both inbound and outbound travel.
In September, Australia's largest airline Qantas Airways dropped its alliance with British Airways in favour of a new ten-year alliance with Emirates, a move which will see the Sydney-based airline direct its European traffic through Dubai instead of Singapore.
From March 2013 Qantas will also coordinate pricing, sales and schedules with Emirates under the partnership.
The long-anticipated deal was received warmly by investors, with Qantas' share price surging more than 6 percent in early trade.
The arrangement will enable Qantas to cut loss-making international routes and focus on its profitable domestic and budget operations, while helping Emirates compete against its main state-backed Abu Dhabi rivals Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
The alliance is deeper than a straightforward code-share arrangement - where airlines share some flights - but stops short of a global revenue-sharing deal or equity injection from either side.
For customers, benefits include the pair sharing airport lounges and frequent flyer programmes.