Emirates has today announced it will launch direct flights from Dubai to Mexico City at the end of this year.

The news will come as little surprise to our readers as we reported on this route’s developments last year.

The daily direct flight will start on December 9 and will be operated by a two-class B777-200LR configured with 38 business (2-2-2 configuration) and 264 economy class seats (3-4-3 layout).

I noted above that it would be direct rather than non-stop.

That is because the flight will operate via Barcelona with fifth-freedom rights for the sector linking Spain with Mexico City.

Readers may ask why it’s necessary to make an en route stop and why Emirates bothered to win fifth-freedom rights.

It is all to do with the high altitude of Mexico City’s airport, which limits the range that aircraft can fly after take off.

Although it’s not possible to fly Mexico City to the Gulf non-stop, it is possible to fly Mexico City to Europe non-stop.

Gaining fifth-freedom rights allows Emirates to make the route viable. Chances are it will not have to carry empty seats on some sectors.

Emirates says its flight EK255 will depart Dubai at 0330 to arrive the same morning into Barcelona at 0800. It will then depart at 0955 to reach Mexico City the same day at 1615.

Return flight EK256 will depart Mexico City at 1940, arriving into Barcelona the following day at 1325. Then it heads onwards from Barcelona at 1510 to reach Dubai at 0045 the following day.

As can be imagined, Emirates’ schedules are timed for onward connections (both to and from Dubai) to the local region, India and SE Asia.

Emirates will have upstaged its local rivals by becoming the first Gulf carrier to be serving Mexico City directly.

Finally, note that the B777 has space for 14 tons of cargo. It will allow Mexico to export fresh produce, engineering parts, medical supplies and more to the Gulf.