EMIRATES is fast approaching the tripling of its flights to Spain, which includes the launch of a daily service to Barcelona from July 3.
The airline has been stepping up activities in Barcelona, part of the commercially and culturally rich Catalonia region. On Tuesday evening, Emirates hosted a media gathering in Barcelona, sharing the latest on preparations for the Barcelona service and its expansion in Spain.
The new Barcelona link will come two days after the launch of a second Emirates' flight to Madrid on July 1.
Emirates' Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide Thierry Antinori said: "The new Barcelona flight is the culmination of a very significant increase in our services to Spain.
"In the space of 48 hours, we will have tripled flights to this market in a clear demonstration of our commitment to Spain."
Also present at the press conference in Barcelona was Salem Obaidalla, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation, Damià Calvet i Valero, Mobility and Transport Secretary of the regional Catalan government and Sonia Corrochano, Director, Barcelona El Prat Airport.
Barcelona has one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean and thousands of cruise passengers are amongst the city's 7 million visitors per year. The city is also the capital of the Catalonia region, which receives approximately 25% of annual foreign investment in Spain.
"Dubai is strategically located between east and west. Through our industry leading Emirates' Terminal 3 in Dubai, companies will have faster and more efficient access to Middle East, African and Asian markets. At the same time, Catalonia will be able to attract more foreign investment and our new daily service will certainly boost the tourist flow in and out of the region," Mr Antinori added.
Emirates will serve Barcelona with a 360-seat Boeing 777-300ER with highly trained, multi-lingual cabin crew on hand in the First, Business and Economy Class cabins.
The aircraft, amongst the largest in the airline's fleet, offers luxurious First Class Private Suites, lie-flat seats in Business Class and a new generation of comfort in Economy Class. First and Business Class passengers can enjoy a complimentary chauffeur service to and from the airport.
Throughout all cabin classes, gourmet chef prepared food is served, while the much-enjoyed ice entertainment system carries over 600 channels of movies, TV programmes, games and music.
From Barcelona, passengers will be able to fly more conveniently to popular destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Manila. In Dubai, travellers can also pick up Emirates' flagship aircraft, the A380 when travelling to places such as Jeddah, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland.
EK 185 will depart Dubai at 0655hrs and arrive in Barcelona at 1200hrs. EK 186 will take off daily from Barcelona at 1640hrs and land in Dubai at 0100hrs the following day.
Emirates SkyCargo has been operating freighter flights to Spain since 2006, largely in support of the country's fashion industry. Clothes are also amongst Catalonia's main exports to the Gulf, along with items such as cosmetics, audio and video equipment and fresh food.
In 2010, overall trade between Spain and the UAE reached AED 4.15 billion (US $1.13 billion) and has been increasing at a rate of around 15% per year.
Emirates employs over 300 Spanish staff globally, many of whom are cabin and pilots, and regularly conducts recruitment exercises in Spain.