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Tue 23 Jul 2013 10:29 AM

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Emirates Airline eyes UK to US direct flights

Carrier in October will begin operating flights to New York via Milan

Emirates Airline eyes UK to US direct flights

Dubai’s Emirates Airline has not ruled out entering the competitive transatlantic market, currently dominated by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and offer flights from Dubai to the US via the UK.

Emirates’ UK vice president Laurie Berryman said the Dubai carrier has seen “strong demand” and last year carried 800,000 passengers on its routes in and out of its hubs in the north of England.

“Glasgow is double daily and we upped the aircraft size. Newcastle went from an Airbus to a B777, so we are growing capacity there as well. Birmingham is twice daily, and one of the Manchester flights is an A380, with the other two being B777s,” Berryman was quoted as saying in an interview with trade publication Buying Business Travel.

Emirates in October will launch flights from Dubai to New York via Milan and Berryman hinted, if it could gain regulatory approval, it might not be long before the carrier enters the transatlantic market and offers flights from Dubai to the US via northern England.

“We do hold some rights out of the regions, so I would never say never. One of the things we are keen to say to the Davies Commission [UK Airports Commission], to relieve pressure on the south-east, is why don’t we make all the regional airports completely open skies, so anyone can fly anywhere. Heathrow sits in the south of England, but Manchester has a bigger catchment area in terms of a two-hour drive,” he said in the interview when questioned on the issue.

The transatlantic market is dominated by the likes of UK carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and US players Delta Air Lines and American Airways. Aviation analyst Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said there is still obvious demand in the market for Emirates to capitalise on.

“With Emirates carrying over 800,000 passengers out of just four UK regional hubs, it is evident that there is more than enough brisk demand to launch direct flights to the USA from cities that the likes of BA do not operate long haul services from and that too would raise the appeal of Emirates.

“Emirates could flood the North Atlantic with swathes of Airbus A380s and 777-300ERs out of places like Birmingham and Manchester, two cities which are bursting with pent up passenger demand, tempered only by the lack of long haul airlines operating there, particularly for Birmingham,” he said, adding that if the Dubai carrier goes through with the plan “British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will be the big losers.”

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MaryM 7 years ago

I will definately take this route during my next visit to the USA from Dubai. I hate the long-haul flights and if they utilize the A380s on this route, that would be fabulous. I am in love with the A380 and try to fly on this plane to all my destinations throughout Asia and USA and obviously an Emirates preferred customer.

MaryM 7 years ago

Fabulous idea for Emirates passengers!

Ahmed 7 years ago

Hope this request doesn't end up in a rift like the one that happened with Canada. Obviously, Emirates will sweep the market and other airlines will suffer losses, because they will not be able to compete. Love the idea, I would consider this option, but I am a dedicated Emirates customer.

Bharat Jashanmal 7 years ago

Emirates, as always, at the very forefront of progressive commercial thinking...the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland have always been poorly served by UK carriers; Emirates addressed the issue of demand for destinations to the East via its Dubai hub many years ago, and now, could it build a new hub in the North of England to take advantage of demand for flights to the US ?

JustinG 7 years ago

All they need to do is add Los Angeles or San Francisco to Manchester and I'll never have to bother with that hateful Heathrow airport again, and for that matter how about Brazil?

Can't wait!

Rootless 7 years ago

Dream on. This would need to be approved by UK, EU and US authorities if EK were to get fifth freedom rights to carry passengers between UK and US. You think they will give permission to voracious Emirates to undermine the only profitable routes for their largest carriers? And BA, American, BMI, Continental have all tried long haul service from UK regional airports to US cities and finally dropped it for lack of demand. Plus EK used to do a Dubai to NYC route via Hamburg a few years ago but stopped it. I question whether the Milan stop-over route will work either. EK A380s are nice to travel on but their far more common 777s (much more likely for these route options) are inferior to the big transatlantic carriers: 10 seats across in economy, 7 in business - others have 9 and (at most) 6 across respectively in 777s. BA business seat is far better even than EK A380. Aer Lingus offer an option for UK regional travellers via Dublin where they can clear US immigration in advance.

RAH 7 years ago

“Emirates could flood the North Atlantic with swathes of Airbus A380s and 777-300ERs"

This statement alone will make the EU and US authorities reject EK practicing whatever fifth freedom right the UAE may currently hold. Fifth freedom come with conditions and are subject to a final approval (signature).. Dumping 380's transatlantic will NOT get that final signature sealed.

Good luck EK. If you ordered your 100+ 380's on the basis of dumping it EU to US, you are in for one big nasty headache.

Tom Whitelegge 7 years ago

Manchester can substain routes to the west coast, not just seasonally but year round, given the right airline as start up. EMIRATES have a fantastic record from Manchester as it is at the moment, the potential for more trans Atlantic capacity from Manchester must surely be a matter off time. British Airways, pulled the plug on Manchester, and retreated back to Heathrow a long time ago the future is not British Airways starting anything from the regions either now or in the future.

john Smith 7 years ago

The Emirates product from Manchester is terrible. The entire contents of a 380 are crammed into a boarding gate designed for a 737. This is all just provocative and opportunistic PR at a time when the British government are undergoing a review on the future of air travel.

Dave J 7 years ago

London Airways only dropped Manchester to US flights because of the numbers in business class-the rest of the plane was full. I think you'll find if you bother to check that American and some other US airlines still operate daily flights and Virgin go to Orlando