In the coming weeks and months, Rome will see a huge capacity increase by Emirates which, one suspects, will lessen the impact of rival Etihad’s new tie-up with Italy’s Alitalia.
Emirates, which currently operates twice daily flights from Dubai to Rome (one served by the A380, one by B777-300ER aircraft) - will strengthen its Italian operation.
The Dubai-based carrier will upgrade both daily Rome flights to an A380 operation. And the move takes effect very soon - August 29 to be precise.
The new A380 flights are EK095 and EK096. Flight EK095 departs Dubai at 1555 and arrives into Rome at 2005. Return flight EK096 leaves Rome at 2200 to reach Dubai at 0545 the following morning.
Emirates has transferred the A380 from the Moscow route. The carrier had intended to operate both Moscow flights by A380 this month but the plan was shelved at the last minute.
It now means Moscow will see a single daily A380 flight, presumably because Emirates feared a fall in passenger numbers owing to EU sanctions and the general economic situation.
But that’s not all. From the start of the winter timetable on October 26, Emirates will inaugurate a third daily Rome service with a B777-300ER.
This latest service will depart Dubai as EK099 at 0355 to arrive in Rome at 0735. It will return from Rome as EK100 which is set to leave at 1100 and arrive back in Dubai at 1935.
The increase in flight schedules reflects the growing number of leisure and business people who are taking Emirates both from and to Rome. With a wide range of connecting opportunities over Dubai these travellers will be destined for, or originating from, other cities in the Gulf region plus those in Asia and Australasia.
As for Etihad and Alitalia ... well the new agreement was signed barely a fortnight ago and the increase in schedules and connections will not become apparent until 2015.
So that gives Emirates a head start.