Dubai-based carrier Emirates has confirmed it will be resuming flights to New York via Athens from June 1st. Emirates initially suspended the route back in March of last year in response to new travel restrictions. The airline is now looking to step up its network and has resumed flights to ten destinations in the US as it aims to operate its full network by summer.
Rebuilding its US network
In an announcement on its website, Emirates said the resumption of the fifth freedom flight would serve “the large Greek-American community in the United States while offering a convenient connection to travelers headed towards the Middle East, West Asia, and Africa via Dubai.” The airline will also increase the frequency of its daily flights to Athens to support the newly resumed Newark route.
Flight EK209 will depart Dubai at 10:50 local time before arriving in Athens at 15:00 local time. After just 35 minutes turnaround, the plane will leave Athens at 15:35 to arrive in Newark at 21:20 local time. The return flight EK210 will leave just before midnight at 23:55, arriving in Athens at 16:05 the following day before heading back to Dubai to arrive at 23:35 local time.
Emirates will deploy its Boeing 777-300ER on the three daily flights connecting Newark airport to Dubai via Athens. The resumed route will operate alongside Emirates’ twice-daily flights to New York’s JFK. In addition, Emirates has resumed flights to Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Routes connecting Dubai to San Francisco and Dallas will resume on March 2nd.
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Temporary flight suspensions
Although the resumption of flights looks like a strong step towards recovery, Emirates is quick to suspend flights if necessary. It recently pulled the plug on flights to Australia, South Africa, and the UK. Dubai has been open to tourists since July 2020, making it a very popular holiday destination over the past six months.
Both the government and the airline are keen to promote tourism but are conscious that the COVID-19 virus is still spreading worldwide. Recent changes to restrictions in the UK saw Emirates suspend flights for only a few days as it worked out how to implement new procedures to meet the changing requirements.
If the US changes its travel restrictions, the relaunched routes may see some temporary suspensions as Emirates adapts. However, having recently flown the first flight operated by a vaccinated crew, the airline is well on the way to ensuring it can take advantage of growing numbers of tourists.
Heading towards recovery
Emirates is one of the few international airlines that seems to be well on the way to recovery. The airline is operating flights on most of its pre-pandemic routes and aims to have all 143 destinations covered by summer, although not at the same frequency. Most airlines believe that total recovery will not be possible until around 2024.
However, Dubai’s early recovery efforts seem to be stalling as an increase in tourist numbers has brought with it an increase in the virus. This month the UAE has seen a record number of new daily cases. Dubai still requires mandatory mask-wearing and pubic social distancing. If the USE cannot get the virus under control, Emirates’ plans to recover by summer may be ruined.
What do you think of Emirates’ plans? Is it too optimistic to hope for 100% network recovery by summer? Let us know what you think in the comments.