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Coming on the heels of rival Etihad’s launch of a daily D.C. – Abu Dhabi service, the announcement marks the expanding presence of Gulf carriers in the West.

Dubai-based airline Emirates says it will start its first direct flights connecting Europe and the U.S. later this year.

The planned Milan-New York route marks another effort by the fast-growing carrier to expand into new markets. Currently, all Emirates flights across the Atlantic start in Dubai.

Emirates said Monday the new service will begin Oct. 1.

The airline sponsors the popular soccer club AC Milan.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Tags: emirates air, italy, nyc

Photo Credit: Emirates Airbus A38 sits at JFK Airport near New York City. Daniel Betts / Flickr

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