Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines which is scheduled to launch eight new destinations to its global network in 2006, has started services to the Indian city of Kolkata; and Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Emirates’ senior management were present at Dubai International Airport to officially flag off the departure of EK 548 - Emirates’ first flight to Kolkata yesterday; and EK 723 Emirates’ first flight to Addis Ababa Monday.
The Dubai-based airline which has embarked on a major expansion drive in India entered the North East Indian skies for the very first time, as it commenced its direct, six-flights-a-week service to Kolkata. The airline’s presence in India now stands at seven cities served by 63 weekly flights.
Emirates’ Kolkata service follows closely on the launch of the airline’s operations to Thiruvananthapuram in the South Indian state of Kerala. The airline has also unveiled plans to launch eight-flights-a-week to Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India starting October 29.
Emirates is consolidating its presence in East Africa, a region it has served since 1995 when it introduced non-stop services to Nairobi, Kenya. Thrice-weekly operations to Addis Ababa starting today, makes it Emirates’ fourth gateway in East Africa, which is currently served by double daily flights to Nairobi and daily flights each to Entebbe and Dar-es-Salaam.
Emirates will boost its frequency on the Dubai-Addis Ababa route to daily services starting December 1.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said, “In 2006, Emirates is headed for a major expansion of its route network. We have already launched services to Abidjan in Africa; Thiruvananthapuram in India; and Hamburg in Europe. During the year we will continue to grow and enter new markets such as Beijing and Nagoya where there is a strong demand for our services.”
He added, “Emirates has built a reputation for making available to its customers a high-quality flying experience at a competitive price. We are happy that the time has come to extend our services to Kolkata and Addis Ababa customers and to enable them to experience the Emirates difference first-hand.”
Emirates services to Kolkata and Addis Ababa are expected to boost business and tourism flows between India, Africa and the Middle East, and facilitate investment in the local economies.
The new direct link between Dubai, and Kolkata and Addis Ababa responds to the longstanding desire of business travelers and tourists seeking easier passage between North East India, West Africa and the Middle East.
On both routes, Emirates will operate the Airbus A330-200 which offers superior range capability and significant cargo volumes. The wide-bodied aircraft has been especially appointed and equipped to Emirates demanding standards, thus ensuring that every passenger’s journey is a relaxing and pleasurable interlude