Emirates inaugural flight to Osaka, which took off from Dubai at 0230 this morning (Tuesday October 1), opens the way to four cities in Japan and not just one. Through a codeshare agreement, passengers can make connections quickly and easily to Tokyo, Fukuoka and Sapporo.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates led a VIP delegation including Juma Al Majed, Chairman of the Al Majed Group; Abdulla Al Futtaim, Chairman of the Al Futtaim Group; Obeid Humaid Al Tayer, President, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ahmad Bin Biyat, Director General of the Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce & Media Freezone Authority and Sitor Senghor, Vice-President of Credit Agricole Indo-Suez.
Maurice Flanagan, Emirates` Group Managing Director; Dermot Mannion, Chief Director Finance, IT and Services; Ghaith Al Ghaith, Commercial Operations Director and Hans Haensel, Director of Destination and Leisure Management, accompanied Sheikh Ahmed.
The delegation also included the Japanese Consul General in Dubai, HE Hiroshi Shiojiri, top local dignitaries, business leaders and media. The inaugural flight touched down at Kansai International Airport in Osaka at 17:40.
On arrival, Sheikh Ahmed was presented with flowers, and welcomed by the Chairman of Kansai International Airport Corporation (KIAC), Mr Yasuo Shingu. Sheikh Ahmed and Mr Shingu exchanged gifts.
At a press conference on arrival, Sheikh Ahmed thanked the Japanese Government for granting traffic rights. He said: “We look forward to working together with Japan Airlines, the national carrier of Japan, and we believe that these new flights are one of the most important developments in our history to date.”
He continued: “I believe there are great opportunities for more trade and tourism to be developed between our two countries. We are here today not only to promote Emirates but also Dubai our home base. We believe that Dubai is a superb leisure destination for the Japanese traveller with a perfect winter climate, a high level of safety and security, unspoilt beaches, luxury hotels, plenty of golf courses and tax free shopping. We estimate that in time Japan will become one of our top markets for visitors to Dubai”
The new flights will promote traffic inbound to Japan also. Sheikh Ahmed said: “Our flights have been scheduled so that they provide fast and convenient links to other parts of Japan through a codeshare with Japan Airlines on flights from Osaka to Tokyo, Fukuoka and Sapporo enabling more people to discover the unique travel experience that this wonderful country provides.”
Later, Keith Longstaff, Emirates Senior General Manager Commercial Operations (West Asia & Pacific Rim) represented the airline at a ceremony to mark the departure of the first flight from Osaka to Dubai. Mr Longstaff cut the ribbon with Mr Haruhiko Ochiai of Japan Airlines. Mr Toru Tsuji, Vice President of KIAC was also present.
The new flights will operate every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and provide the only non-stop air links between Dubai, the dynamic commercial and tourism hub of the entire Middle East, and Japan, one of the world’s largest economies.
The flights are codeshared with Japan Airlines (JAL) and operated between Dubai and Osaka by Emirates with a Boeing 777 aircraft in three-class configuration. JAL operates codeshared flights between Osaka and Tokyo, Sapporo and Fukuoka.