By Andy Sambidge
Dubai carrier says A380 will fly to Munich, increasing Frankfurt flights amid reported snub on Berlin talks
Emirates Airline said on Monday it was planning to launch extra flights to Frankfurt and upgrade one of its Munich services to an A380 superjumbo.
The announcement comes just days after the Dubai carrier reportedly received a snub from the German government over talks to secure extra landing rights in Berlin and Stuttgart.
The new, daily Frankfurt flight will take effect during the next winter schedule, making the city a triple daily service, Emirates said in a statement.
From January 1 2012, the airline's morning service to Munich will be upgraded to a superjumbo, it added, one of two daily flights.
Emirates will be the first foreign airline to return the A380 to its home in Germany and the first carrier to operate an A380 to Munich, supporting the airport's A380-readiness.
"A third daily flight to Frankfurt and the German-built A380 serving Munich is another positive step in what is now a multi-billion US dollar relationship between Emirates and Germany, supporting thousands of German jobs," said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' senior vice president, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation.
"Meeting clear demand is of direct benefit to consumers, who want more choice, and to the German economy. We know international air services are a key driver of economic growth - facilitating the flow of business and cargo and opening up new markets to German exporters and importers," Obaidalla added.
Emirates is currently the biggest buyer of the Airbus superjumbo and one of the largest customers for the Airbus A350 aircraft. The A380 programme alone is estimated to provide at least 40,000 direct and indirect German jobs, the airline added.
"Fair market access and open competition is good for Emirates, customers and the global economy. Operating out of Dubai with its Open Skies policy, Emirates is well used to competition. In the midst of extraordinary consolidation within our industry, we believe that the merits of competition are now more important than ever," Mr Obaidalla concluded.
Emirates Airline said on Friday it remained "hopeful" of winning access to more airports in Germany despite reports that senior German officials are refusing to hold talks with the Dubai carrier.
German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Friday that the country's transport ministry was giving Emirates the cold shoulder by refusing to hold talks on granting airline rights to land in Berlin.
An Emirates spokesperson told Arabian Business said the airline was still "hopeful" of winning German government support and was "looking forward to further dialogue".
"We are hopeful that our long-standing request will receive German government support. We continue on-going discussions with the relevant officials on this matter, and look forward to further dialogue. The economic case for these flights has never been stronger," the spokesperson added.
Emirates currently operates 49 weekly passenger flights between Dubai and Germany – double daily to Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf and daily to Hamburg, becoming double daily from September 1. Additionally, Emirates operates eight weekly freighter flights to Germany.