A First: Brazil/Emirates by Air 6 Times a Week

The Emirates Airline flight between Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and São Paulo is going to be a great success. This is the opinion of aeronautical consultant Paulo Sampaio, who talked about the airline's announcement this Tuesday, January 23, that they are going to start operating the route on October 1st.

The city of São Paulo will be the airline's first non-stop destination to South America. There will be six flights per week, according to a spokesperson for the company.

"Dubai is a very great air traffic center. Apart from servicing the Middle East, it offers connections to destinations like China, India and Japan, which are currently important destinations for Brazilian passengers," said Sampaio.

"This route will have a very great impact, it will be a success," he believes. There will be flights from São Paulo every day except Friday, and from Dubai, also every day, except Thursday.

Nowadays, to reach the countries in Asia and the Middle East, Brazilian passengers must fly to Europe, South Africa or the United States, in the case of Japan.

The route from Dubai will shorten distances and reduce the duration of the trip between these destinations, in the evaluation of the consultant. The flight from São Paulo to Dubai should take 14 hours and 40 minutes.

As an example he mentioned the existing flight by South African Airlines between São Paulo and Mumbai, in India, with a leg in Johannesburg.

"It will be much faster through Dubai," he said. Sampaio also mentioned flights to Australian and New Zealand, destinations that are greatly sought by Brazilian students, currently operated by Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN Chile, with legs in Buenos Aires and Santiago, respectively.

"Now passengers will also have an option through Dubai," he declared. Therefore, Emirates may attract clientele from other international companies and generate greater competition.

Offering South American passengers connections to a series of destinations in the Middle East and Asia, and vice-versa, is the objective of Emirates.

"The company is very good in terms of quality, and if it enters with competitive rates, the company is going to do well," said Sampaio. The company guarantees that the prices will be competitive, but had not disclosed the prices until yesterday.

According to the company, the route to Brazil will be operated in a Boeing 777-200LR, the first of an order of 10 to be delivered in the near future. The aircraft will have eight first class seats, 42 in business class and 216 in coach, and will have the capacity to transport up to 18 tons of cargo.

According to a spokesperson for the company, the president of Emirates, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said that the company has been planning to expand its operations in the Americas for a long time.

Currently, on the continent, the company only has flights to New York. "We are pleased to be starting this service to South America as soon as we receive our first 777-200LR," said Al-Maktoum, according to a spokesperson.

The executive also pointed out, always through his press department, that São Paulo is the main business hub in Brazil. It is also the main economic center in Latin America. In the same way, according to him, "Dubai is the main route to the Middle East for business and tourism". "We believe that this connection is going to stimulate business and tourism between both of these economies even more," he said.

The company has already chosen an executive to run its business in Brazil. Ralf Aasmann was hired in December last year for the position of director general. According to Aasmann, the company is going to open an office in São Paulo – probably in February – and is going to start hiring local personnel.

"We are anxious to work closer to our commercial partners in Brazil, to make this service a success and to promote Brazil as a destination for travellers from other cities in the Emirates global network," he said, according to his press office.

Since the trip by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the Arab world, in December 2003, the inauguration of a flight to Brazil has been expected.

In June 2004, aeronautical authorities from the Emirates visited the country and signed an aerospace agreement that permits up to 14 flights a week. There has not been a direct flight between Brazil and the Middle East since the Lebanese Middle East Airlines cancelled its flight in 1998.

The company from the Emirates already employs 80 Brazilians, men and women who work as stewards and stewardesses. Established in 1995, the airline has been growing on average 20% a year, according to the press office, and currently counts on a fleet of 101 aircraft. The company flies to 87 cities in 59 countries in Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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