Maurice Flanagan, Vice Chairman and Group President, arrived on the second inaugural flight, from Melbourne, and was greeted by the Mayor of Manukau City, Sir Barry Curtis.
Sheikh Ahmed`s delegation included New Zealander Gary Chapman, President Dnata and Associated Companies; Ghaith Al Ghaith, Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide; and Ram Menen, Senior Vice President Cargo.
Meeting both groups at the airport were Don Huse, Chief Executive of Auckland International Airport and Chris Lethbridge, Emirates’ Manager for New Zealand.
The Maori Culture Group welcomed Sheikh Ahmed and his delegation with a stirring haka-powhiri, a traditional Maori song and dance greeting.Ê HH and the Prime Minister exchanged gifts, cut a celebratory cake and held a press conference for the international media.
In her remarks, the Prime Minister expressed her delight with Emirates’ new services to New Zealand.Ê She was particularly pleased that the routes were launched only nine months after she had visited Dubai and discussed the possibility with Sheikh Ahmed and Maurice Flanagan.
Sheikh Ahmed, making his first visit to New Zealand, said: “We hope our new service to Auckland will help to enhance the relationship between the UAE and New Zealand as our new flights bring more tourists and business travellers to your country.”
The new services offer passengers the choice of 14 flights weekly across the Tasman Sea with the further choice of two Australian gateways. On October 26, those numbers will increase when Emirates launches a new daily service to Brisbane, which will continue on to Auckland. Flights via Sydney and Brisbane will provide fast and convenient connections from the Middle East, while flights via Melbourne increase the options for the Australian traveller. Emirates plans to provide a major boost to the Auckland route by operating the new Airbus A340, non-stop between Dubai and Sydney and onwards to Auckland from December.
Emirates Holidays has produced two packages enabling leisure travellers to experience the spectacular New Zealand landscape with the self-drive option.Ê The North Island tour takes in Auckland, Pauanui, Rotorua, Napier and Wellington.Ê The South Island Adventure includes Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau and Queenstown.
Cargo loads on both inaugural flights were full with shipments for Singapore, Sydney/Melbourne in addition to Auckland. Shipments into Auckland comprise spare parts, personal effects and electrical goods while fresh produce is expected to form most shipments out of Auckland.
Both flights were operated into Auckland by entirely New Zealand flight crews. Harry Gallagher, captain on flight EK410 from Sydney, joined Emirates in 1989 and was the first New Zealand pilot to be recruited by the airline. Michael Gallagher (no relation), a fellow New Zealander was First Officer on the flight. He joined Emirates in 2000 from Ansett.
New Zealanders Captain Roy Toms and First Officer Bruce Broady brought in the inaugural flight from Melbourne. In addition, the pursers and all but two of the cabin crews on each flight were New Zealanders.
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