Portugal on Cusp of Emirates’ Connectivity
Emirates got the final count down to its flights to Lisbon well and truly underway yesterday with a series of activities in Portugal’s capital city.
The airline will begin a daily, non-stop service to Lisbon from 9th July, the only Middle East carrier to serve Portugal.
“I have only been in Lisbon for a short time, but I am really feeling a buzz about Emirates’ new flight, which will start in just over six weeks’ time,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide, who attended an Emirates’ gala dinner last night in Lisbon.
“I know it means a great deal to this city - and this country - to be connected to Emirates’ vast and exciting route network. We will offer the only non-stop flight to the Middle East, which opens the world beyond our international hub in Dubai,” said Mr Antinori, speaking to more than 700 guests at the Pavilhao Atlantico, as they savoured their starter, Atlantic fresh Spiny Lobster with grilled vegetables served with Vinaigrette dressing.
More than 500 years after Vasco da Gama set sail from Portugal to India in a trip that took nearly a year, Emirates will deploy a modern Boeing 777-200ER on the Lisbon route. Passengers can sit back, eat the finest airline cuisine and immerse themselves in hundreds of channels of in-flight entertainment, while being served by immaculately groomed cabin crew from across the globe.
Earlier yesterday, senior Emirates’ executives met members of the media to elaborate on the new Lisbon service. Mr Antinori was joined on the press conference panel by Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation; Cecília Meireles, Portugal’s Secretary for Tourism and Dr. Francisco Vieira Pita, Deputy Director, Lisbon Airport.
“We are delighted to welcome Emirates Airline at Lisbon Airport. After a few years of conversations our work and persistence is bearing fruit," said Dr. Pita. “The improvement of airport infrastructure, including new boarding gates for long-haul aircraft, integrated in Lisbon Airport’s expansion plan, was very important for us to succeed in attracting this new route. Emirates is internationally recognised and acclaimed for its excellent service and we are confident that passengers will take advantage of a direct flight to Dubai with excellent connections throughout Asia.”
While Portugal has a population of around 10 million, it is estimated there are some 200 million Portuguese speakers in countries around the world, many of which served by Emirates; India, Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Brazil.
Emirates SkyCargo will also be active in Portugal, offering 17 tonnes of belly-hold capacity aboard each 777-200ER flight, in support of Portuguese exporters and importers.
“The connectivity of a country is one of the determining factors of economic and tourism development and competitiveness. This new flight, and other connections from Dubai is very positive for the Portuguese economy,” added Dr. Pita. “We believe the role of Lisbon as a link between Brazil, Africa and Asia will be strengthened by this new connection.”
EK 191 will leave Dubai at 0915hrs each day and arrive in Lisbon at 1445hrs. The return flight, EK 192, departs Lisbon at 1755hrs and gets into Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. First and Business Class passengers are entitled to a complimentary chauffeur-drive service to and from the airport.
Emirates, which employs more than 200 Portuguese staff, currently flies to 173 destinations across six continents. Passengers travelling from Portugal will be able to experience the airline’s flagship A380 in Dubai when connecting to 17 destinations including Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland.
Portugal will be the airline’s 10th new route for 2012. Services to Washington start on 12th September.