EMIRATES Airline has announced it intends to strengthen its route network in the Asia ñ Pacific region.
From September 1 this year, the airline has increased frequencies to Perth, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur as well as launching daily services to Beijing.
The airline now runs double daily services to Perth, nine weekly services to Kuala Lumpur, and adds three additional flights to Hong Kong. As of September, Emirates will serve the Asia-Pacific region with 129 flights every week.
“Emirates’ business strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is one of planned and steady growth, backed by strong commercial principles. The region is growing incredibly fast, undoubtedly led by the phenomenal growth in China, established tourism trails to Australia and buoyed by the economic prospects in the entire region,” says Richard Vaughan, senior vice-president East Asia and Australasia. “By the end of this year, we also intend to upgrade our services and increase capacity to Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.”
To celebrate launching flights to Beijing, Emirates has a slew of offers to the Chinese gateway. Passengers across its network travelling to Beijing in first class are entitled to two nights’ and business class passengers to one night's complimentary stay at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing. Both deals offer passengers a deluxe room, on a single or double occupancy basis, and are valid from September 1 to November 30.
Economy Class passengers in the UAE can look forward to an introductory fare of Dh1,800 ($490) for a Dubai-Beijing round trip, exclusive of taxes, valid for travel until September 30. The airline has also announced special frequent flyer miles-plus-cash fares for the route.
In related news, the airline has flatly denied a rumour repeatedly circulating on the London Stock Exchange that the Dubai-based carrier was about to take over British Airways. Another rumour also denied was that the airline was about to float an IPO and go private. A third rumour, presumably originating from the order of ten Boeing 747-8 freighters, suggested that Emirates was to start a new cargo airline.
“None of these rumours are true,” says a spokesperson for the airline. “Naturally we are flattered that investors should think we are looking at purchasing shares in British Airways, but it just is not true. We have always reiterated that the Dubai Government will decide, if Emirates should ever go public, they are the owners.”
Meanwhile, the airline has launched its new generation lie-flat business class seats featuring a 10-zone in-seat massage function, large privacy dividers, handheld controls and 19-inch personal entertainment screens.
Passengers flying Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER between Dubai and London Gatwick will now be the first to sample this new Business Class offering. By year's end, another six Emirates jets will be operating with this new business class product.
All of Emirates’ new long-range Boeing 777 aircraft on order will be fitted with lie-flat seats in business class, and the airline will also retrofit its current fleet of 12 777-300 aircraft by early 2008.
The new business class will offer the latest in inflight amenities and comfort, with the lie-flat seat boasting an in-seat massage function, large privacy dividers, and handheld controls.
In related news, the airline has clarified that it has made no final announcements about plans to fly to South America. Contrary to media reports, the airline has yet to announce services to the continent. However, Emirates does have traffic rights to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, a spokesman told TTN.
by Jonna Simon
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