Hamburg’s abendblatt.de is reporting that Emirates may restart transatlantic service from Germany’s wealthy port city.

If plans come to fruition Emirates would link Hamburg to New York.

It would be a continuation of its daily service between Dubai and Hamburg and, subject to slots, would operate into JFK airport.

However don’t get too excited. Traffic rights, if granted, would be on a fifth-freedom basis and these are usually difficult to obtain, because the airlines of each [end-to-end] country will naturally object.

Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg, recently visited Dubai and met with Emirates president Sir Tim Clark.

Tschentscher suggested Emirates restart the route which, although originally launched in 2006, had been dropped a few years ago for economical reasons.

The Mayor says that a New York link would encourage more businesses to invest in his city.

Hamburg, like Germany’s capital of Berlin, is neglected by national airline Lufthansa.

From Hamburg Lufthansa does not operate a single long-haul route (not even operated by its budget subsidiary Eurowings) so travellers to or from this Hanseatic city are compelled to fly via Frankfurt or Munich [when taking Lufthansa].

Emirates’ Clark is keen on the suggestion and Abendblatt reports that Clark says the route would [now] be “definitely economical.”

In truth Emirates should never have abandoned transatlantic services from Hamburg.

Gaining fifth-freedom rights is a challenge at the best of times and today, as Clark admitted to the Mayor, the situation is tougher than it was in 2006.

Objections from Lufthansa are one thing. More to the point is the reaction of the US authorities. They already object to Emirates holding transatlantic fifth-freedom rights [from a couple of other European cities].

Indeed the US is unhappy at how Air Italy is expanding into North America. It views Air Italy as little more than Qatar Airways in disguise.

At the end of the day the situation is unclear. But one hopes wisdom will prevail allowing Emirates to restart transatlantic service from Hamburg in the not too distant future.

emirates.com