DUBAI - 1 MARCH 2012 - Emirates launched the first direct air bridge between the Middle East and America’s Northwest today, as its inaugural service from Dubai departed for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. With two dynamic and fast-growing regions now more closely linked, Emirates’ Seattle service will generate a host of economic benefits; from boosting imports and exports to creating new markets for business and tourism.
Emirates’ recent order for an additional 50 Boeing 777-300ERs fitted with American-made GE90 engines, plus options for 20 more aircraft worth a total of $26 billion at list prices, will support over 100,000 skilled American jobs* in more than a dozen U.S. states.
“Emirates has looked forward to the day when we would connect Seattle to our home hub in Dubai, on flights operated by state-of-the-art, Seattle-built aircraft,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group.
“This new service is the latest step in Emirates’ strategic programme of expansion across the United States, and we are confident that it will support the burgeoning trade relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the Seattle metropolitan region," continued His Highness. “Emirates highly values its partnerships with American business and industry, and we look forward to strengthening these links as we invest in growing our presence across the country.”
On board today’s inaugural flight from Dubai were: His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group; Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi - UAE Minister of Foreign Trade; His Excellency Major General Mohamed Abdulrahim Al Ali - Deputy Minister, UAE Ministry of Defence; His Excellency Hamad Buamim - Director General of Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Justin Siberell - US Consul General, US Consulate General of Dubai; Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline; Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President - Engineering & Operations; and Ali Mubarak Al Soori, Executive Vice President - Chairman's Office and Facilities Management.Emirates is already the world’s largest customer of the Boeing 777 and operates the aircraft to each of its six United States gateways: New York JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and now Seattle.
A number of other Washington State suppliers contribute to the airline’s unprecedented aircraft order book. The Smart Landing and Smart Runway technology fitted in Emirates’ fleet is designed in Honeywell Aerospace's Redmond, W.A. facility; while Zodiac Aerospace manufactures Emirates’ aircraft stowage compartments at their Washington plant.
"This new service will serve as a gateway to an important part of the world that is essential to creating jobs, new business and tourism opportunities in our state," said Gael Tarleton, Port of Seattle Commission President. "This direct service connects the Puget Sound region to an entire new continent of economic possibilities."
The U.A.E. was the 19th largest export destination worldwide for American goods in 2011, with total exports valued at a record high of almost $16 billion. Topping the list was transport equipment, which included almost $3.5 billion in aircraft deliveries, $163 million in aircraft parts and $26 million in aircraft engines. Other leading exports included computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery, chemicals and fabricated metal products.
“Emirates’ non-stop flights will support Seattle’s thriving export trade through a 15-ton freight capacity that will serve one of the largest cargo hubs in the world at Dubai International Airport,” said Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates SkyCargo. “Emirates will carry goods including software, technology and telecommunications equipment to markets across the Middle and Far East”.
Flying to ten Indian cities over 180 times per week, 22 destinations in Africa and points across the Middle East, Emirates will provide easy connectivity between Seattle and these key destinations, making business and leisure travel easier and more convenient for West Coast customers.
The arrival time of Emirates’ service from Seattle to Dubai provides conveniently timed connections to an extensive range of onward destinations. Connections to Bangkok, Delhi, Bangalore, Doha, Chennai, Islamabad, Lahore, Kuwait, Mumbai and Hyderabad are all under three hours.
In January, Emirates announced the launch of a new frequent flier partnership with Alaska Airlines that offers customers the opportunity to accrue Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles when flying to any of Emirates' 122 destinations worldwide. Miles flown on Emirates will count toward qualification for Alaska’s MVP elite level program. Emirates Skywards members can also accrue miles across the Alaska Airlines network in the United States, Canada and Mexico. To celebrate the new partnership, both airlines are offering double miles on each other’s flights from March 1 to May 31, 2012. Under the new partnership, travellers connecting between any point on Alaska Airlines’ and Emirates' networks can also check in for their flights at either carrier's counter, receive their boarding passes and check their bags to their final destination.
Emirates currently employs over 700 Americans at operations throughout the world, and anticipates hiring more than 4,000 cabin crew and 500 pilots globally this year. So far in 2012 alone, the airline has recruited cabin crew talent in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C and will be holding an open day in Seattle in March. Emirates will be holding pilot recruitment drives in Atlanta and New York over the coming months.
EK 229 leaves Dubai daily at 0950hrs and arrives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 1310hrs. EK 230 departs Seattle at 1710hrs, arriving in Dubai at 1940hrs the following day.
* Figure calculated using U.S. government job creation estimates for U.S. built aviation exports