The direct flight that Emirates Airline, of the United Arab Emirates, will inaugurate in October between São Paulo and Dubai should help introduce new products into the Brazilian export basket to the Arab world.
"We sense that there is a strong demand for tropical fruit from Brazil in the Arab world, but the long time for the goods to reach their destination has always been an obstacle. The fruit sector and those of many other perishable goods are going to benefit from the flight," said the president at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Antonio Sarkis Jr.
Sarkis Jr. took part in a press conference that he and the director at Emirates Brazil, Ralf Aasman, gave after a luncheon attended by journalists and businessmen at the head office of the Arab Brazilian Chamber, in the southeastern Brazilian city of São Paulo.
According to the director at Emirates Airline Brazil, Ralf Aasman, each flight will have a capacity for 12 tons of cargo. Emirates SkyCargo, a logistics company owned by the same group to which Emirates Airline belongs, already transports cargo from Brazil to the Arab world, but it does so by means of a partnership with Scand Air Cargo and in non-direct flights by other companies.
They are transported to Europe by Brazilian companies, and from there they are boarded into Emirates' airplanes. From October onwards, though, the goods will only take around 15 hours to get to Dubai. Ships usually need one month to arrive in the Arab world with cargo from Brazil.
The president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Farmers (ABCC), Itamar Rocha, was one of the businessmen present at the Arab Brazilian Chamber luncheon this Wednesday, September 19. According to him, the flight should also make shrimp exports to Arab countries easier.
The country, according to him, does not sell shrimp to the region yet, but is interested in doing so, and also in selling shrimp farming technology to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which are investing in this segment.
"The flight should help a lot," says Rocha. Ralf Aasman claims that the company is already receiving requests for cargo transport in the direct flights, and that the demand includes frozen products.
Executives at SkyCargo have stated earlier this year that the company also intends to operate aircraft exclusively for cargo transport between Dubai and São Paulo, one year after the launch of the commercial flight. The Dubai-São Paulo line will use Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft.
The first flight will leave Dubai at 10:30 am on Monday, October 1st, and will arrive in São Paulo on the same day, at 06:30 pm. The flight from São Paulo will take off at 1:25 am on Tuesday, October 2, and will land in Dubai at 11:25 pm. There will be six flights per week, every day except Fridays. Two-way tickets will cost US$ 1,355 for the economy class, US$ 7,300 for the executive class and US$ 10,200 for the first class.
The director at Emirates Airline Brazil believes that the first flights will have an occupation rate of more than 70%. São Paulo will be the second destination operated by the company in the Americas. The other is New York, to where the airline flies three times a day.
According to Aasman, the decision of flying to São Paulo, as opposed to other South American capitals, was due to the volume of business the country has with the Arab world and to the passenger potential.
"As the main focus of São Paulo, as a commercial center, is business tourism, the flight is going to greatly help executives," stated Luciane Leite, Tourism director at São Paulo Tourism, the department in the São Paulo city hall that sponsors travel.
Businessmen had anxiously been awaiting the inauguration of the direct flight. In the mission that the Arab Brazilian Chamber and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex) are going to promote to the Gulf in November, for example, the Emirates flight will be used.
During Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, to take place in December, Brazilians have also started scheduling Emirates flights, according to the Arab Brazilian Chamber president. The flight should transport not only Brazilians, but also people from other countries in the region, and take them not only to Dubai, but also to other countries, with connections to Africa, Oceania and Asia.
According to Aasman, the company is currently evaluating the inauguration of direct flights to other cities, like Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
Those flying Emirates from São Paulo to Dubai, leaving from Governor André Franco Montoro International Airport, in the city of Guarulhos (greater São Paulo), will have the right to be picked up at home in an exclusive vehicle, according to Aasman. In the first class, they will have 23-inch television monitors, in executive class, 17-inch, and in economy class, 10-inch.
Apart from that the passengers will also have access to one thousand video channels, games, documentaries as well as the Internet. In first class, Emirates offers eight suites, there are 48 seats that become beds in executive class, as well as 216 seats in economy class. Emirates will have a partnership with Varig for use of its VIP rooms until it can establish its own in Guarulhos Airport.
Emirates posted revenues of US$ 8.5 billion in the last fiscal year. Profit totaled US$ 942 million. The company operates 105 aircraft and was the largest buyer of Airbus A-380 airplanes, having ordered 55 of the aircraft, scheduled to start being delivered in 2008.
The company, established in 1985 with two aircraft and a capital of US$ 10 million, is building an exclusive terminal in Dubai Airport. Emirates has among its crews employees from over 100 nationalities and, according to Aasman, is working to have crews that speak Portuguese in all its routes, not just the one involving Brazil.
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