Emirates Adds Chicago to Growing List of Direct-to-Dubai U.S. Cities

Skift Take

Emirates move into Chicago deepens trade ties between Dubai and the U.S.’s primary commercial center in the midwest.

— Jason Clampet

Emirates airline will launch its first passenger service from Chicago this summer, according to the airline and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

The non-stop, daily service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Dubai will begin Aug. 5. Chicago will be Dubai-based Emirates ninth destination in the U.S. The flight will be operated with a Boeing 777-200 LR. The airline is rated four stars by Skytrax, a rank above most U.S. carriers.

“Air transport links are critical for trade and tourism, and Emirates’ non-stop daily flights to Dubai will only add to our global connectivity,” Emanuel said in a statement. He said it will help further a goal to host 55 million visitors by 2020.

The estimated annual economic impact of the new Emirates service is nearly $200 million, according to the statement.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said in a statement that Chicago has been a U.S. destination the carrier has wanted to serve. “Like Dubai, Chicago is a major global trade and transportation hub with great cultural diversity that is an economic engine for its region,” he said.

Besides carrying passengers, the aircraft will be equipped to transport up to 17 tons of cargo, increasing trade opportunities between Dubai and Chicago, the statement said. Emirates already operates twice-weekly freighter service to and from Chicago, which in 2013 carried nearly 7,400 tons of cargo from the city and more than 4,200 tons into the city.

Rosemarie S. Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation that operates O’Hare and Chicago Midway airports, said expanding Chicago’s connection to the Middle East “is a high priority for us.”

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