By Shane McGinley
State-backed carrier to add five flights a week to European city by end-2012
Dubai’s Emirates Airline is to boost its weekly scheduled
flights to Paris by more than third by the end of 2012, the carrier said in a
The largest international carrier will add a further four flights
a week to Charles de Gaulle airport from March 25, in addition to its existing double-daily
Emirates said it would increase this to five additional weekly
flights in the winter of 2012, in response to a rise in demand from passengers.
The increase in operations will see the carrier operate 19 weekly flights to
the European state by the end of 2012.
“Demand to and from
France, particularly from business travellers, is such that a third frequency
has always been an objective for Emirates,” said Salem Obaidalla, senior vice
president of commercial operations for Europe and the Russian Federation.
Emirates will operate the Boeing 777-300ER passenger jet on
the route, featuring eight First Class suites and 42 Business Class seats.
The state-backed carrier signed a deal with Boeing last
month for 50 777-300ER jets, and an option for 20 more, in a contract valued at
$26bn. The signing marked Boeing’s largest civil jet order to date.
A deal signed by UAE and French aviation authorities in
January gave flagship airlines Etihad, Emirates and Air Arabia the right to add
a combined 22 weekly flights to the European country.
The countries also agreed to add Bordeaux as the sixth
destination for UAE airlines, alongside Paris, Nice, Lyons, Marseilles and
Emirates, however, hinted at the time it might seek to
increase its flight frequencies again.
"We are encouraged by these developments,” an Emirates
spokesperson told Arabian Business. “[We] look forward to further talks to
continue addressing the clear need for extra capacity between the UAE and
The world’s No.1 airline on international routes, Emirates
has faced criticism from European carriers who have pressed their governments
to deny the fast-growing airline new flying rights.
Carriers including Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s biggest
carrier by traffic, claim that lower taxes and airport fees at Emirate’s Dubai
hub amounts to an unfair advantage.