Emirates set to launch ‘fifth freedom’ route to US via Athens. Dubai airline expands its use of European cities to launch new daily flights between Dubai and the US. Emirates on Monday announced it will launch a new daily service from Dubai to Newark Liberty International Airport, via the Greek capital city of Athens, starting on March 12. The new ‘fifth freedom’ route complements Emirates’ existing four daily flights between Dubai and New York’s JFK airport, the airline said in a statement. Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to fly between two foreign countries so long as the flight originates or ends in the airline’s home country. Emirates already offers fifth freedom services between Milan and New York.
The announcement comes as three of the largest carriers in the US continue to urge the government to directly intervene and block further flights being launched by Gulf carriers. Delta and other US airlines have accused Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways of receiving more than $40 billion in unfair subsidies, and the US airlines’ unions have urged their government to halt the Open Skies agreement. The Gulf carriers have dismissed the charges as false. The airline said it will operate a wide-body Boeing 777-300ER powered by General Electric GE90 engines on the route, offering 8 seats in First, 42 seats in Business and 304 seats in Economy class, as well as 19 tonnes of belly-hold cargo capacity.
Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline said: “The Greek Government and Athens International Airport approached Emirates some time ago to consider serving the route between Athens and New York. “After careful review, Emirates concluded that extending one of our Dubai-Athens flights to Newark would be commercially and operationally feasible. We are pleased to be able to help meet a strong consumer need long neglected by other airlines, and we would like to thank the authorities and our partners in both the US and Greece for their support of the new route.” Emirates agreed to utilize the facilities of AHLEN’s Royal Hospitality Airport Lounge at the Athens International Airport.
He added: “The availability of high quality, daily international air services is essential for the development of business and cultural ties. Trade, especially in high-value and time-sensitive products, will be facilitated by the ample cargo capacity on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft. We also expect tourism to receive a major boost from the availability of daily flights year-round.” The United States is home to the largest overseas Greek community in the world, numbering approximately 1.3 million, and the New York City metropolitan area has the largest community of Greek Americans in the country.
Sources: QGN, Gulf Agencies, Arabian Business.