EMIRATES LAUNCHES NEW EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS

FLIGHT CONNECTIVITY HAS ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE FOR PAKISTAN.

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

June 13 - 19, 2011

Emirates Airline has announced three new European destinations potentially rich to boost trade volume between Pakistan and the new destinations.

Badar Abbas Vice President Emirates Pakistan & Afghanistan operations formally announced new destinations including Geneva, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg and said that the new destinations carry great economic significance for Pakistan.

Geneva Emirates' 113th destination was added on June 1. This will be followed by the launch of flights to Copenhagen from August 1st and St. Petersburg from November 1st.

The Geneva, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg launches mark Emirates services to a total of 28 destinations in Europe.

Badar said Europe remains a popular hub for Emirates travelers from Pakistan hence Geneva and Copenhagen are important business and commercial hubs in Europe and the launch of Emirates flights to these cities will open new business opportunities for growth in trade, finance, electronics, and pharmaceutical products. In addition, Pakistani exporters will also now have access to these markets which will further develop export markets for Pakistani leather goods, textiles, and perishable commodities.

Geneva is the second Swiss destination. Emirates is flying to Zurich and we foresee strong demand for leisure and business travel, bearing in mind the presence of hundreds of international organizations and Geneva's status as a major financial centre.

Given the fact that these destinations offer a veritable potential of business opportunities and are an influential hub for commercial activities, the need for the Dubai-Geneva route was ostensibly felt. The launch of Geneva further cements our flights and passenger numbers into Switzerland and offers passengers greater choice and convenience in terms of destinations.

Switzerland is a small country with a population of 7.5 million but as a trading nation, it is among the medium-sized economies and the 15th biggest exporter in the world. The main pillars of Swiss economy are the services and industrial sectors, which account for approximately 70 and 28 per cent of GDP respectively.

Switzerland is a strategic partner for many countries across the globe, having gained its much-deserved reputation as a crucial economic hub and has proven its mettle as a destination of technological innovation.

Geneva, the thriving city of Switzerland, is a cosmopolitan city in many ways: from its glitzy culture and fast-paced lifestyle, to its cuisine and tourist appeal, it carries the essence of all things Swiss but with an international flair. Geneva is often referred to as the "birthplace of watch making" which is proven by the fact that in 2010 Swiss watch manufacturers exported more than 26 million finished watches, according to Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

In addition, both Pakistan and Switzerland share over six decades of friendship, and have cooperated closely in several fields. Switzerland ranks fifth in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan and a reliable trading partner. The Swiss based multinational companies have invested billions of dollars in Pakistan in various sectors including food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and engineering, banking. Our flights to Geneva further strengthen this relationship between the two countries and allow passengers from both Pakistan and Switzerland to enjoy the comfort and hospitality of Emirates Airline.

Today, Pakistan is an important partner for Switzerland in Asia. A number of economic agreements have facilitated business activity as well. Keeping in mind the demand for flights to Zurich, Emirates is further facilitating its passengers with direct flights to Geneva. The addition of the new route strives to strengthen and build Swiss-Pakistani relations by supporting bilateral business activities. Karachi holds a particular significance for Switzerland as out of 20 Swiss multinational companies operating in Pakistan, 15 are established in Karachi and successfully operating in key sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, banking and other service industries.

Emirates, maintaining its position as an award-winning airline, has pulled out all the stops to ensure that its passengers enjoy a truly remarkable experience, even before they have arrived in Geneva. On all flights to Geneva, Emirates passengers are able to enjoy our world-class inflight menu. Our award-winning inflight ambience and cuisine has been created keeping in mind all kinds of travelers and their specific tastes.

In addition to the food, passengers are looked after by our multilingual cabin crew and are able to enjoy Emirates' inflight entertainment system ICE, (which stands for information, communication, entertainment) featuring more than 1,200 channels of entertainment including Hollywood and Bollywood movies, TV shows, news, music and games. ICE is your personal, on-demand entertainment centre. It's easy to use so you can relax and enjoy the flight from the moment you sit down.

Our First Class passengers traveling to Geneva can enjoy luxurious First Class Private Suites, while our Business Class passengers can relax in lie-flat seats. All passengers on our Geneva flights can enjoy our award-winning service, ensuring that your flight to Geneva is an unforgettable experience.

The launch of our daily flights to Copenhagen from August 1st is also a testament to our focus on growth and commitment to providing the utmost in aviation luxury to our passengers. Copenhagen, which is Denmark's capital city and attracts 1.3 million tourists a year, will become the Emirates' 114th international destination and the 27th destination in Europe.

Copenhagen is an important hub for the whole of Scandinavia and the launch of our non-stop service will open up a new market for Emirates. It will also offer Denmark's businesses with easy connections to previously untapped markets, Badar said.

Similarly, through our services to St. Petersburg we cement our outlook on the vast potential that Russian economy has to offer to the world and Pakistan. St Petersburg is estimated to be the third largest city in Europe with a population of around 4.6 million residents. Passenger demand is expected to be mostly tourist driven, but also boosted by the oil and manufacturing sectors and from the city's significant expatriate community. Services to this destination will provide Pakistani exporters with the opportunity to tap into the economic potential of the city and develop export potential for a vast range of commodities, such as automotive parts, pharmaceuticals, garments and flowers.

The fiscal year gone by is a resounding proof of our dedication to our customers, operational control and excellence and a keen focus on forensic growth planning. In the face of many challenges both political and environmental, our revenues and profitability remained strong and we declared a profit of US$1.5 billion - which represents a 25 per cent increase from last year.

During the year, in line with the airlines strategic growth plan, Emirates significantly increased its order for new aircraft, adding 32 additional Airbus A380s and 30 Boeing 777-300ERs. The combined value of these orders is US$13.4 billion and brings the airline's total number of aircraft on order at the end of the financial year to 193, worth over US$66 billion. Emirates took delivery of eight new aircraft during the year including one Boeing 777-300ER and seven of the airline's flagship A380s expanding the airline's fleet size to a robust 148 aircraft.

We are proud of the fact that Emirates remains the world's largest A380 and Boeing 777 operator with 15 A380s and 86 Boeing 777s.

Our services to Dubai-Geneva route are operated by a combination of Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The aircraft is arranged in a three-class configuration, offering First Class Private Suites, lie flat seats in Business Class, and a spacious cabin in Economy Class. Each Emirates' 777 aircraft serving Geneva has 15-20 tonnes of cargo capacity - space for plenty of luxury watches, along with high-end fashion goods, diplomatic cargo, relief shipments, pharmaceutical products and electronics. Similarly, Emirates will be operating an Airbus A330-200 on the Copenhagen route in a three-class configuration.

Passengers on all Emirates' flights also have the added bonus of extra baggage allowance with 30 kilograms for those travelling in Economy, 40 kilograms for Business and 50 kilograms for First Class. A combination of Airbus A340-300 and A330-200 will be deployed on the route, offering first, business and economy class travel. These are a few recent initiatives amongst many to serve as an illustration for the constantly growing airline, which focuses primarily on the specific needs of its travelers.