As was reported earlier last week, Emirates launches new flights to the US city of New York, at Newark airport. The airline, which has aggressively expanded in the US, is adding another destination to its network. The airline currently flies to twelve destinations in the US & Canada. They fly a mix of 777s and A380s on their routes across the Atlantic. With the addition of Newark, the airline will have 13 destinations. Yet, this route has sparked ire from US carriers, especially United and Delta.
How is the Flight Routed?
The flight is unusual to all but one flight in the US operated by Emirates. The case is that Emirates will fly from Dubai to Newark via Athens. The airline will have Fifth Freedom Rights to transport passengers between Athens and Newark. This has made the two airlines that fly to Athens from the New York area very irate. Delta Airlines, whose CEO has allied himself with Trump in favor of protectionist policies, flies from JFK to Athens. United, who is also in favor of protectionism, flies from EWR to Athens.
The route comes as direct competition to both airlines. But there is one major issue the US-based airlines have not addressed: they both fly seasonally. Their flights to Athens only operate during the summer months. This means that Emirates would be the only year-round carrier between the US and Greece. American also flies to Athens, from Philadelphia, and it is also a seasonal route. The US carriers, who have for months been protesting the Gulf Big 3’s expansion are without a convincing argument, in my opinion.
What aircraft will fly this route?
The airline plans to fly the route with a 3-class 777-300ER. The aircraft has 8 first class suites, 42 angled-flat seats in business, and 304 economy seats. The aircraft offers the same first class cabin as the A380, without the amenities of a shower or a premium cabin bar. The same aircraft flies to all US destinations except LAX and SFO. The airline hopes to target passengers who travel between the US and Greece with this flight, as well as passengers who will continue on to Dubai.
What is the issue?
The main issue with these Fifth Freedom Rights is that the airline can now carry passengers between the US and Europe, denting the US legacy airlines’ transatlantic profits. They currently face competition from other legacy carriers, and the newer LCCs like Norwegian and WOW Air. Some of the European legacy carriers are inclined to even create their own LCCs to compete. American and the US carriers have decided to introduce Basic Economy to compete as well. With all this competition, the US carriers have been forced to lower prices, which means that consumers have benefited. Since their bottom lines are suffering, they are appealing to the government to place protectionist bans in order to boost prices up.
I was a bit surprised Emirates chose to go to Newark. This must be because of the recent relaxing of slot constraints at the airport. The airline has a quality lounge at JFK, but maybe it was cheaper to fly to Newark. I am very happy to see Emirates expand, given they offer a solid product in First Class and Economy. The airline could improve its business class, but that will take time as the airline begins to retrofit their fleet. Hopefully, we will see fares to Greece drop, and tourism increase to the country.
What do you think? Are you excited to see Emirates fly from Newark to Athens to Dubai? Have you ever flown Emirates? How was your experience?