Emirates will challenge European and US transatlantic carriers on their home turf this autumn. That is when the Dubai-based national airline is set to launch daily flights between Hamburg in Northern Germany and New York's JFK airport. The service, which originates in Dubai, is expected to get under way on October 29. It will be operated by a three class B777-300.
Although the schedules aren't yet displayed on Emirates' website, a spokesperson for Emirates says, "We can confirm that Emirates does have plans to start additional services to Hamburg which will link to JFK."
According to preliminary timings, flight EK205 will depart Dubai at 0855 to reach Hamburg at 1255, departing from there at 1440 to reach New York at 1700. In the reverse direction flight EK206 departs New York at 2315 to arrive Hamburg at 1235 the next day. Departure from Hamburg is at 1415 with an arrival in Dubai later the same day at 2325.
Emirates launched Dubai-Hamburg flights only last month (March) so this move next autumn (when the existing A330 is switched to a larger B777) means a service upgrade.
Hamburg is one of Germany's wealthiest cities and the airport's catchment area covers Northern Germany, Berlin and areas of Denmark. Yet it is poorly served by long distance flights. Lufthansa, for example, hasn't a single long haul flight from Hamburg. As a result, passengers seeking to reach the outside world invariably have to change planes at another hub.
One exception, besides Emirates, is US airline Continental which operates a five times a week service to New York Newark using a two-class B757.
Business class flights to New York next November are currently priced by online agent Travelocity as costing £3,323 return with Continental, £2,294 with Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), £2,277 with SAS (via Copenhagen), £1,784 with BA (via London) and £1,723 with Air France (via Paris).
Emirates is expected to price keenly in all classes and will operate a wide-bodied B777 which has more passenger appeal than Continental's narrow-bodied B757.
This autumn's Dubai-New York service via Hamburg means Emirates will be flying the route thrice daily. As now, the two daily non-stop services operated by Airbus A340-500s will continue. But one of these Airbus flights will be upgraded to a larger B777-300 aircraft from September 1.
Emirates' New York services are proving to be popular. Passengers are drawn both from the Middle East region and the Indian subcontinent. The latter is poorly served by direct flights so passengers originating in, say, India find it easier to take Emirates from one of various gateways and change in Dubai.
For more information go to emirates.com
Report by Alex McWhirter