Emirates has delayed the launched of its new non-stop route from Dubai to Panama for a second time.
The Gulf carrier had originally planned to launch the service on February 1, but this was delayed until March 31 “in order to fully receive all regulatory codeshare approvals from the wider Central and Latin America region” (see news January 14).
However in a statement Emirates now says that the service will launch by the end of 2016 or early 2017.
A spokesperson for the airline said:
“We firmly believe in the potential of Central America, and remain keen to link the Emirates network to the region.
“We will retain staff in Panama City to continue developing our presence, as well as commercial opportunities with our industry partners, and will launch by the end of 2016 or early 2017 as soon as conditions allow.
“The decision was made after an extensive review of all operational factors, including fleet utilisation and commercial demand from key markets against the global economic outlook.”
The new route would potentially become the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight at just over 17 and a half hours (on the westbound service).
Lufthansa launched its own service between Frankfurt and Panama on March 2, having also delayed its launch from November (see news July 7, 2015).
This week Emirates launched a new non-stop option between Dubai and Auckland, with the westbound service taking around 17 hours and 15 minutes (see news March 2).