Emirates has touched down in Lyon, celebrating the international airline’s third destination in France and fourth new European destination since the start of 2012.
Serviced by an Airbus 340-500 in three cabin classes, Emirates’ flights to Lyon will offer a total of 258 seats including; 12 First Class Suites, 42 seats in Business Class and 204 seats in Economy Class. The addition of this new Emirates service will see an overall capacity increase of 12 per cent in France, further boosting the airline’s presence in this important international market.
The delegation on board the inaugural flight to Lyon included H.E. Alain Azouaou - French Ambassador to the U.A.E, Thierry Antinori– Emirates’ Executive Vice President Passenger Sales Worldwide, Richard Jewsbury– Emirates’ Senior Vice President – CO Europe & Russian Federation, Pradeep Kumar – Emirates’ Senior Vice President Cargo Revenue Optimisation and Systems, Eric Giraud-Telme - French Consul General in Dubai and Claude Valle – President French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates and prominent members of the business community and representatives from the media.
“The South East of France has been on our radar for some time. Lyon, as the second largest metropolitan area in France, is a strategically important market that is incredibly viable in terms of potential traffic flows through to our vast network of 49 destinations in the East, including ten points in India. We are confident that our new service will provide much needed capacity to the city’s thriving commercial centre, one of the largest economies in Europe,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Passenger Sales Worldwide.
“Our extensive destination list and all wide-bodied fleet will ensure that traffic in both directions is well stimulated. The strong interest and support in Emirates from the people of Lyon and the surrounding provinces is an excellent marker of the success we expect from this new destination,” added Mr Antinori.
Feeding the underserviced Lyon region, Emirates is the first international carrier to provide direct services from Lyon to Dubai as well as key commercial hubs in the East, an important link for facilitating new trade opportunities. Business traffic to and from Lyon is expected to have a strong tie to the city’s banking, pharmaceutical and biotech industries which have helped to make the Rhone-Alps region, which Lyon is the capital of, the sixth largest economy in Europe.
For the leisure traveller, Emirates’ new flight to Lyon opens the doors to the city’s highly lauded culinary delights. A significant number of Michelin starred restaurants are housed in Lyon, testament to the city’s moniker as the ‘food capital of the world’.
“Emirates’ new service to Lyon will increase the number of international destinations accessible from Lyon considerable,” said Philippe Bernand, CEO Aéroports de Lyon. “The new service will provide Lyon will an excellent link to the airline’s hub in Dubai, in addition to its global network. Lyon-Saint Exupéry has strong development potential in terms of both passenger traffic and freight activity which make it the perfect partner for Emirates.”
Emirates’ presence in France has grown considerably this year with a capacity increase in Nice due to the introduction to a Boeing 777-300 and Paris Charles De Gaulle preparing for a double daily A380 service from January 1st 2013.
“Our commercial footprint in France has increased steadily since our first service to Paris in 1992. Since day one we have invested significantly in France operating state-of-the-art aircraft and facilitating quick connections through Dubai to our global network. Today Emirates operates 31 flights per week between France and Dubai up from three weekly flights in 1992, further underpinning our long-term commitment to France,” concluded Mr Antinori.
Emirates passengers in Lyon will also benefit from the airline’s recently launched frequent flyer partnership with easyJet that allows Skywards Miles to be redeemed for flights on easyJet across Europe.
Emirates SkyCargo will now have a weekly capacity of more than 1000 tonnes spread across the belly-hold of 31 return passenger flights serving Paris, Nice and Lyon. We expect there to be demand for a variety of commodities going into Lyon such as leather products, clothing, textiles, pharmaceuticals and electronics, while wine, machine and electronics parts, and pharmaceuticals will be transported in the other direction.
Emirates flight EK81 departs Dubai every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1455hrs, arriving in Lyon at 1940hrs the same day. The return journey leaves Lyon at 2100hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0615hrs the next day.
Emirates passengers travelling in both directions will benefit from the airline’s generous baggage allowance of 50kg in First Class, 40kg in Business Class and 30kg in Economy Class. Passengers will also enjoy the on-board ice system with over 500 channels of on-demand entertainment in all classes.
The Emirates Group currently has over 650 French Nationals working within the company and this number continues to grow as the airline holds successive recruitment days across France.