Emirates Airline on Thursday announced that it will start its first non-stop service from Dubai to Auckland on March 1 2016, bringing many of its 38 European destinations and cities within just one-stop range of New Zealand through direct connections in Dubai.
The new service will be in addition to the award-winning airline’s existing flights, meaning that Emirates will then have five services daily into New Zealand – three A380 double-decker services to Auckland via Australia, a daily Christchurch service with a Boeing 777-300ER, and the new non-stop service operated with a Boeing 777-200LR.
The new service will bring New Zealand much closer than at present, with an estimated flight time of just under 16 hours from Dubai to New Zealand and 17 hours, 15 minutes in the other direction, cutting journey times by almost three hours each way.
"Having just one stop on the long haul to New Zealand will make the journey quicker and more comfortable. This will be a boon to many business people, tourists, expatriate New Zealanders and other travellers in Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
"Tourists, in particular, will now have more options – travelling to Auckland with a stopover in Australia on one of our three daily A380s, flying non-stop direct into Auckland, or flying to the South Island on our daily Christchurch service. New Zealand currently hosts about three million tourists a year and we want to do our part to cater for that flow and grow that figure above current expectations.
"Operating a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in our sights for some time, dependent on availability of suitable aircraft as we rapidly expand our global network of destinations, and frequency of flights and capacity on existing routes. We are particularly delighted that we can now bring this exciting plan to fruition."
Sheikh Ahmed said that an aggressive fleet growth and renewal programme which is rapidly expanding both its A380 and Boeing 777 numbers had meant that the right sort of aircraft for the ultra-longhaul non-stop flight from Dubai was now available.
"Emirates started operating in New Zealand with a double-daily Auckland service in August 2003, adding a third daily Auckland service a few months later, and then providing a daily Christchurch service in 2004. Progressively from 2009 onwards, we have up gauged the Auckland services to our flagship A380s and today these fly via Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane respectively to Dubai and beyond, and reverse.
"Auckland as the major gateway is now a thriving and attractive city of 1.5 million and, together with tourism and business traffic, we are sure that it will easily sustain the introduction of the extra flight."
With the introduction of the non-stop service, Emirates will then be flying more than 2,000 seats a day in each direction on New Zealand services.