Does Emirates Really Need Its Mexico City Route?

It’s been more than a month since Emirates introduced its new route between Dubai and Mexico, with a stop in Barcelona. This route was probably the most controversial in Mexican history. So let’s answer two questions: was Emirates really interested in the market between the UAE and Mexico and does Emirates really need this route?

Emirates flies between Dubai and Mexico with a stop in Barcelona. Photo: Emirates

The data doesn’t lie

The Tourism Ministry of Mexico published data about the number of tourist entries to the country by their residence and by nationality. Since 2012, just 14,993 people with residence in the UAE have come to Mexico by air. And a total of 3,622 people with an Emirati passport have come to Mexico since 2012.

To put it in perspective: between January and November of 2019, over 58,000 people came to Mexico from Australia. This market is the largest unserved in the Latin American country. Still, we’re not seeing Qantas or Aeromexico launching a direct route between Sydney and Mexico City.

Poland also has sent a big flux of tourists to Mexico, with over 220,000 since 2012. South Africa, Denmark, and Indonesia are other countries with more tourists in Mexico than the UAE.

So, it seems that there are a lot of other countries more interested in Mexico than the UAE. Still, Emirates launched a weekly operation between Dubai and Mexico City last 9th December. Mexico became the last country with over 100 million people to have a flight of Emirates.

Emirates landing in Mexico
Emirates landing in Mexico. Photo: Emirates

Barcelona is the sweet spot

Scott Lantz, Area Manager for Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia & Chile at Emirates, said the carrier needed Barcelona as a stopover.

“It’s our right. If we don’t operate commercially in Barcelona, the route to Mexico City is not interesting to us,” said Lantz during the introduction of the route.

So, let’s see the numbers again. A total of 2,118,948 people residing in Spain came to Mexico via air since 2012. Also, Spain is a monster in the tourist department, with over 83.7 international visitors just in 2019. So, clearly, there is a market between both countries beyond the cultural ties. For Emirates, it was as clear as water.

Emirates had the fifth freedom to operate between Dubai and Mexico City. The carrier just had to pick the city of choice. Among the candidates were Copenhagen, Milan, Geneva, Stockholm, Lisbon, Zurich and, obviously, Barcelona.

This fifth freedom made Aeromexico really unhappy. As Aeromexico’s CEO, Andrés Conesa, said: Emirates wanted a mature market to build its operation to Mexico.

Emirates B777-200LR Economy Class
Emirates B777-200LR Economy Class. Photo: Emirates

One can only wait to see the results

All this data I’ve shown is the panorama Emirates faced before entering the Mexican market. Currently, neither the airline nor the Mexican government have published new information that may show the success of the Dubai-based carrier.

So, maybe in a few months, we will see an increase in the number of visitors coming from the UAE. But at this moment, what we can see is that Aeromexico was right in its claim. Emirates wasn’t really interested in the route from Dubai.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.