Emirates Airline plans to be one of the major international carriers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and the Shanghai World Expo two years later. But these two events are not the only reasons for expansion into China. The People’s Republic is one of the United Arab Emirates’ biggest trading partners and the airline has long targeted growth in routes and frequencies to Chinese cities.
The fast-growing operator’s strategy for growth in China made a major leap forward in April 2005, when it launched its first direct air service between Dubai and the Chinese mainland with a nonstop, daily A340-300 route between Dubai and Shanghai. Emirates’ SkyCargo division already operates dedicated freighters five times a week between the cities.
In September Emirates will open a new nonstop daily flight between Dubai and Beijing, also with an A340-300. The latest route, its fourth to China, is part of a strategy for the country that, since the end of 2005, has included 17 flights per week–up from 12 last summer, between Dubai and Hong Kong with A330s and B777s, and a twice-weekly cargo-only route to Dalian.
Emirates now is considering expanding beyond the large Chinese metropolises to second-tier cities, but specific plans have not been revealed. Meanwhile, although
Emirates has not yet announced the routes on which it will operate the new Airbus A380 super-large airliner, Beijing International presently is building a new runway, and a scheduled third runway at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is due for completion in 2008.