The five-a-week link to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport will boost booming business links between the Russian capital and the commercial heart of the Middle East, and offer Russian customers convenient connections to Emirates’ major Far East business and leisure destinations. Today senior Emirates executives and staff at Dubai International Airport were joined for photographs by Svetlana Korsak, dressed in traditional Russian costume, before the first flight took off. It was met on arrival by Nasser Batha, Emirates’ Area Manager Moscow/CIS; Jeyhun Efendi, Sales Manager; and Russian cabin crew Hanna Bui and Oxana Urmanova, who flew in advance to Moscow to greet travellers checking in for Dubai.
Emirates’ modern wide-bodied Airbus 330-200s with 18 First, 42 Business and 183 Economy seats, and 15 tonnes’ cargo capacity, now link Dubai with the Russian capital - which becomes its 67th destination. Flights leave Dubai on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 0830, reach Domodedovo at 1355, and return to Dubai to touch down at 2310 the same day, providing the only full-service link between the two, and encouraging the growth of trade and tourism between the UAE and Russia.
Hamad Obaidalla, Emirates’ General Manager GCC, Yemen, Iran & CIS, said: “The Russian air travel market is expanding very fast, especially First and Business class, and we are well placed to compete as we will be the only airline offering a high-quality three-class product on the route. Domodedovo is also the ideal airport for encouraging business travel and developing trade between Dubai and Moscow, and like Dubai has the key advantage of serving the wider region around it extremely well.”
Today Russian tourists flock to Dubai for its sun, warm seas, clean beaches and top-class hotels. Last year more than 400 Russian tour operators featured the emirate in their brochures, up by more than 20 per cent on the year before. A quarter of a million Russian visitors are expected this year. Cargo on the new service will include Russian exports of high-end technology to the Indian subcontinent, valuables, and increasingly, goods from Russia’s fast-growing manufacturing industries. Imports to Russia set to ‘Fly Emirates’ include Indian pharmaceuticals and produce, and Indonesian textiles.
The start-up follows intensive preparation. Two years ago Emirates opened a Moscow sales office, giving it a presence on the ground in Russia and a chance to study the market so it could tailor-make its service. Recently, senior executives briefed travel agents in Russia on the new link, hosting an evening reception, and promoting Dubai with prize holidays at Al Maha Desert Resort. Al Maha has also recently hosted a number of visits to Dubai by Russian travel writers.
Emirates is now recruiting 50 more Russian-speaking cabin crew to make customers feel at home throughout their trip. Eight Russians and 21 Russian speakers already fly as Emirates crew. Recruiters have recently been to Moscow and St Petersburg, and similar trips are planned to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovakia seeking adaptable, cheerful, hard-working linguists committed to customer service. Domodedovo, Russia’s largest and fastest-growing airport, echoes Emirates’ own commitment to quality. It has excellent road and rail links to Moscow and two runways able to handle 75 flights an hour.
Facilities at its modern passenger terminal include automated check-in, state-of-the-art technology, air bridges, baggage carousels, and Russia’s first airport mosque. Work is under way to expand capacity to 20 million travellers a year by 2015, more than half of all Moscow air travellers.
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