European Airlines have announced plans to link Dubai nonstop to Scandinavia and by business-class-only service to the UK and the U.S. Unlikely though it might seem, no UAE carrier currently provides nonstop service to the Nordic region. Now, a European operator has met that challenge from the other end of the route: Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) this month launched three-times-weekly flights from the Danish capital Copenhagen to Dubai.
SAS Europe, Middle East and Africa head Per Moller Jensen cited “huge” potential to develop services to other Gulf Cooperation Council points such as Bahrain and Oman. “The Middle East will play an integral role in our 2011 strategy,” said Jensen. The airline’s plans include both leisure- and business-travel developments.
SAS will operate a three-class, 245-seat Airbus A340 on Sunday, Monday and Thursday on the northbound service (the aircraft having arrived overnight from Denmark). The general manager of Dubai Airport’s airline development department, Mohammed Ahmad bin Ghannam, said the route, which would be served throughout the coming winter season, had seen 20-percent annual growth (via an intermediate stop). In the first nine months of 2007, SAS handled more than 25 million passengers and expects to see strong growth from regional points serving Dubai.
Another European carrier starting operations here is British business-class airline Silverjet, which plans to begin overnight service from Luton Airport, north of London, on November 18, followed by a daylight return flight to the UK. Northbound service will connect after a short two-hour wait with Silverjet’s established overnight Newark (New York) service. U.S.-originating passengers can enjoy an almost 12-hour UK business day following their overnight transatlantic crossing before continuing to Dubai.
Round-trip Newark-Dubai fares on the 100-seat Boeing 767-200ER begin at about $4,200 (before taxes). Silverjet plans to increase its fleet from three to five aircraft by mid-2008. Passengers flying to Luton on the first service and returning on the first available service two days later would be charged a standard round-trip fare (including taxes) of AED 8,638 ($2,400). In October, Silverjet enjoyed a 58.5-percent passenger load factor on its Luton-Newark service after introducing a second daily flight.