By Neil Halligan
Dubai airline cites “operational factors” as a reason for the second delay
Emirates has postponed plans to launch the world’s longest commercial non-stop flight, citing “operational factors” as a reason for the delay.
The new service from Dubai to Panama was due to launch at the end of this month, but the airline said it will delay the launch until at least Q4 this year, but keep staff in Panama to develop its presence in the region.
“We firmly believe in the potential of Central America, and remain keen to link the Emirates network to the region,” an Emirates spokesperson said, in a statement.
“We will retain staff in Panama City to continue developing our presence, as well as commercial opportunities with our industry partners, and will launch by the end of 2016 or early 2017 as soon as conditions allow. The decision was made after an extensive review of all operational factors, including fleet utilisation and commercial demand from key markets against the global economic outlook.”
It’s the second time that the Dubai-based airline has delayed the launch of the service, after it postponed plans to launch on February 1 this year, with codeshare approvals said to be the reason for the delay at that time.
The Panama route, set to be the airline’s first destination in Central America, is expected to take 17 hours and 35 minutes, eclipsing airline’s new Dubai-Auckland route that it launched this week.