Emirates eyeing Ireland flights launch - top exec
Expectation that visiting friends and relatives could make route work
Emirates Airline is considering scheduled flights to Ireland, a senior executive at the Dubai-based carrier has told Arabian Business.
“That is something which we do keep looking at. Ireland would work for us,” Maurice Flanagan, executive vice chairman of the Dubai government-owned airline told Arabian Business in an interview.
In 2005, when Dermot Mannion, a former Emirates’ president of group support services, was appointed CEO of Aer Lingus he attempted to operate a service between Dubai and Dublin.
However, the route was not successful and the Irish national carrier ceased flying between Dubai and the Irish capital in March 2008.
“It didn’t work for Aer Lingus because Dermot’s model was a low cost one and it wouldn’t work. Ireland would be good as there are good family connections between Ireland and Australia, which the VFR (visiting friends and relatives) traffic itself would be quite substantial. We can’t do everything but we will be there sooner or later,” Flanagan added.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways began flying to Dublin in July 2007 and it is now one of its most successful routes. From March this year, it increased its number of flights to Dublin to ten per week, an increase of 150 percent in less than three years
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ CEO, said: “Dublin has been one of our most successful ever destination launches, with more than 300,000 people flying on these services since launch and an average seat factor of 80 percent.”
In January 2009, Etihad signed a codesharing deal with Irish airline Aer Arann, which gave the Abu Dhabi carrier access to regional hubs such as Cork, Galway and the Isle of Man.