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United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Emirates Airline is to expand its network in the US state of Florida, but it has again chosen to avoid its largest international gateway of Miami International Airport. After successfully launching flights between Dubai and Orlando in September 2015, Emirates will before the year’s end add a link between its Gulf hub and Fort Lauderdale, with JetBlue Airways’ activities at Hollywood International Airport believed to have been key in the route selection process.
The new daily link between Dubai International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport will commence from December 15, 2016 and will primarily serve the South Florida area, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach. It will be the airline’s eleventh direct route into the US and will be flown using a Boeing 777-200LR configured with 8 First Class suites, 42 Business Class lie-flat beds and 216 Economy Class seats and a bellyhold cargo capacity of 15 tonnes.
“Fort Lauderdale and Miami are two of America’s most exciting destinations for leisure and business travel,” said Sir Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline. “We anticipate our service will contribute to the economy of South Florida by bringing new travellers to the area from across our route network, at the same time offering greater competitive choice for consumers and new one-stop passenger and air cargo connectivity for the region to the global destinations that we serve,” he added.
Fort Lauderdale is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US thanks to its abundant sunshine and temperate weather. Its pristine beaches and championship golf courses attract leisure travellers year round, and are home to millions of “snowbirds” – US residents from cold-weather states who own second homes in the area. Fort Lauderdale is also a popular destination for the cruise industry. Broward County's Port Everglades, one of the top three busiest cruise ports in the world, welcomes more than four million annual visitors.
The new flights has been scheduled to provide enhanced connectivity to and from Fort Lauderdale from across the Middle East, GCC, Africa, South Asian subcontinent, and the Far East. Outbound from Dubai the flight offers convenient connections from Beirut, Doha, Riyadh, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Cebu, Singapore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, as well as Colombo and Karachi.
The return flight from the US will offer the fastest routing between Fort Lauderdale and Johannesburg as well as fast connections vis Dubai to Bangkok, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Amman, Bahrain, Beirut, Dammam, Doha, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Islamabad and Lahore.
The local traffic will also be supplemented on the Americas side of the route by Emirates’ codeshare with JetBlue Airways which will offer connection options to over 26 destinations in the US and 19 destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, including the Bahamas, Cancun and Havana.
Emirates is known to put a lot of weight to connection options at the end of its routes when making its network decisions and this has been the case previously for its activities in the US market, including its Orlando service, which in its first year of operation has helped influence this growth. “We launched our non-stop Dubai-Orlando service roughly a year ago and its strong performance encouraged us to select Fort Lauderdale as our eleventh US destination,” confirmed Clark.
The Dubai – Orlando route was originally launched using the 777-200LR after the symbolic A380 operation for the inaugural. However, Emirates is already upguaging the route to one being mainly operated with the larger 777-300ER, offering around 100 extra seats per departure.
Looking at data extracted from AirVision Market Intelligence from Sabre Airline Solutions, it is clear that like other US destinations the route is supported by traffic flows from the Indian sub-continent, although there are some additions to the main markets prevalent on its other US routes.
The data shows that in its first year of operation (September 2015 – August 2016) Emirates carried an estimated 135,000 two-way passengers on the route with around three quarters of the outbound demand from Dubai beginning their journeys behind the world’s largest international airport. Of the 195 passengers on average a day flying into Orlando, 97.2 percent are actually ending their journey at Orlando International Airport.
A look more closely at the origin and destination of passengers on the route shows that Emirates’ wider network from Dubai into Africa, Asia the GCC and the Indian sub-continent has been crucial to the success of the service. Alongside the local traffic, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Hyderabad, Delhi, Manila, Riyadh, Jeddah, Bangalore, Bangkok was the origin or destination for notable levels of traffic.