Earlier this week, Middle Eastern giant Emirates announced that it had plans to add service to 3 or 4 destinations in the US from its Dubai hub over the “next few years.”
As an interesting start to this latest round of US expansion, the carrier has announced new service to Washington-Dulles International Airport effective September 12th. The route will be served with 354 seat Boeing 777-300ERs, with 10-abreast economy class (304 seats), 42 business class seats, and 8 first class suites.
The flight schedules for the new route are as follow:
EK231 DXB 02:20 IAD 08:50
EK232 IAD 10:55 DXB 08:00+1
Washington D.C. becomes Emirates’ 7th destination in the United States and third to launch in 2012 after announcing Dallas-Fort Worth and Seattle in late 2011.
Some industry observers were surprised at the choice of Washington, considering that such central US cities as Chicago and Miami have yet to receive Emirates service. But at the same time, Washington D.C. is one of the fastest growing business regions in the nation, thanks to its proximity to the federal government. The region (including parts of Virginia and Maryland) is home to more than 120,000 Indian-Americans (more than 150,000 South Asians in all), third largest in the US behind New York City/New Jersey and Chicago.
Thus there is a very strong case for service to Washington D.C., as evidenced by the strong success of Qatar Airways on their Doha-Dulles flights.
Moreover, with Etihad having announced their service to Washington D.C. almost a year in advance, Emirates has now managed to upstage their “quasi-rivals” from Abu Dhabi, gaining valuable customer recognition before having to deal with Etihad.Expect to see Emirates announce at least 1, maybe 2 more US destinations before the end of this year; most likely to Chicago, Miami, or maybe even Atlanta or Boston.