Emirates will launch 4 new routes this year

Dubai Desert Classic 2001 winner Thomas Bjorn in action last year.

UAE-based Emirates Airline has announced the launch of four new routes this year.

The new routes come on the heels of the airline's announcement of direct flights to Perth in Australia beginning on August 2.

Emirates currently flies to 56 destinations in 39 countries.

On March 31, Emirates will begin non-stop flights to Casablanca in Morocco from Dubai using a A330 aircraft. Eight days later, the airline will launch flights to Khartoum, a popular destination for many UAE expatriates, also using A330.

On September 1, Emirates will be launching a serious bid for the Gulf tourist market for Mauritius when its inaugural flight takes off with an Airbus 330. The flight will have no first class.

Shortly after, the airline will starts operations to the Japanese metropolis of Osaka with a non-stop Boeing 777 flight. The flight will run four times a week.

"The newly announced operations are part of the Emirates' ever-expanding strategy as a major air travel market player of the Gulf," said an Emirates spokesperson.

The first-ever non-stop flight between Gulf and Australia will take off from Dubai for Perth in Western Australia (WA) at 2.35am on August 2, offering a new one-stop service between Australia and Europe.

The airline said flight EK420 to Perth will be operated with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft and will leave Dubai every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 2.35am, arriving in Perth at 5.25pm, a flight time of 10 hours and 50 minutes.

The return flight, EK421, will be operated on the same days, departing Perth at 10.30pm and arriving Dubai at 5.40am the next day.

Both Emirates and the WA Government are confident that the new service will boost leisure travel and trade links between the Gulf and Western Australia and provide improved access between Perth and key European destinations.

Emirates flights from every one of its 14 European destinations arrive in Dubai with a convenient connection time for the Perth service. Those from seven European cities offer a connection time of under two hours.

Meanwhile, as the official carrier for the 13th edition of Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, Emirates will fly some of the world's top players to the emirate. The tournament will be held from March 7 to 10 at the Emirates Golf Club's Majlis Course.