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Emirates, which brought an Airbus A380 to Orlando International Airport on September 1, 2015 for the launch of daily non-stop service to Dubai, could generate more than 1,400 new jobs to the Florida city, the airport’s chairman said. It was Orlando’s first A380 for passenger service.
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chairman Frank Kruppenbacher, speaking at the launch ceremony at Orlando airport, said the new daily long-haul flight “will generate north of $100 million” in economic impact to the Orlando region and “1,400 jobs for our area.” Orlando becomes Emirates’ 10th US gateway. After the inaugural flight using an A380, Emirates will operate the 15-hour flight with Boeing 777-200LR with 266 seats.
More than 350 passengers booked the inaugural, prompting Emirates to switch to the larger 489-seat aircraft. Emirates Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum hinted during the ceremony that the A380 could find its way onto the route. The A380 “was full to Orlando, and I hope very soon it will be on the [Orlando-Dubai] route.”
Emirates said there were at least 29 countries represented on the first flight to Orlando, most of them connecting in Dubai. Orlando again claimed the top U.S. city for tourists in 2014 with 62 million visitors.
You can watch a video of the arrival of the inaugural Emirates Airline flight at Orlando International Airport by clicking the image below...
The Emirates Chairman noted that the airline was “very careful” in its choice of new destinations, and said the choice of destinations is done hand in hand with its aircraft purchase decisions. “Whenever we buy an aircraft, we know it will go to that [specific] route,” he said, making a point to say that the 777s it will operate daily to Orlando are made in the USA, with General Electric engines.
“We have come a long way since we started,” said Al Maktoum. “We will have close to 82 million passengers at Dubai airport this year.” He noted that the Open Skies war of words between Middle East airlines and the Big Three U.S. carriers “really shouldn’t change” the Open Skies treaties that have been negotiated. Emirates handed over more than 500 pages of documentation in its U.S. government filings, he added. “It’s very simple – we have Open Skies with the U.S. and we have an alliance with the U.S.,” Al Maktoum said.
Kruppenbacher pledged to continue to support Emirates in its public dispute against U.S. airlines. “We’re going to stand and fight and make sure the U.S. policy stays as it is,” he said.