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Greece will get daily year-round flights to the U.S. for the first time since 2012 as Gulf carrier Emirates opens a new route from its Dubai hub to Newark, New Jersey, via Athens.
Emirates will initiate the service on March 12 using a Boeing Co. 777-300ER aircraft, the world’s biggest long-haul airline said Monday in an e-mailed statement. The flights will be in addition to the carrier’s four daily frequencies between Dubai and New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport.
“The Greek government and Athens International Airport approached Emirates some time ago to consider serving the route,” said Tim Clark, the airline’s president, adding that after “careful review” it has been deemed “commercially and operationally feasible” to commence services.
The so-called fifth-freedom route, in which an airline carries passengers between foreign countries as part of a service connecting with its home nation, will be the second flown by Emirates from Europe, after a Milan-JFK operation that began in October 2013.
The Athens flight will amp up competition between Emirates and U.S. carriers led by Delta Air Lines Inc., which operates a summer-only timetable from the Greek capital to JFK and which sought to block the Milan flight as part of its campaign against the growth of Gulf airlines it says have had unfair state support. United Airlines and American Airlines will also offer summer services this year connecting Athens with Newark and Philadelphia respectively, according to the Skyscanner website.
Emirates said there is “strong consumer need” for the service on a route “long-neglected by other airlines.” The U.S. is home to the biggest overseas Greek community of 1.3 million people, and the New York metropolitan area has the largest group of Greek-Americans in the country, it said.
Emirates is seeking to eke out new routes as the lower oil price weighs on travel in the Gulf and stuttering economies hurt global demand. With most first-tier cities within an eight-hour flying radius already connected to Dubai, fifth-freedom services also provide access to more far-flung markets the carrier would otherwise be unable to access. The United Arab Emirates has also been seeking to establish Budapest as a point for onward flights to the U.S.
–With assistance from Eleni Chrepa
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
This article was written by Deena Kamel Yousef from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.