Dubai-based Emirates Airline is celebrating 25 years since its first flight to Greece.
Since 1996, more than 4.5 million passengers have flown on some 15,000 Emirates flights between Athens and Dubai.
Emirates is the only airline that flies direct between Greece and Dubai. In March 2017, the airline added a direct, daily and year-round connection between Athens International Airport (AIA) and New York (Newark Airport), a route that has proven popular among Greek travelers.
“It is a great honor for us to complete 25 years of steady presence in Greece. Over the years, Emirates’ global network has helped Greek travelers visit destinations and connect with loved ones abroad, and has helped connect Greek businesses with markets in more than 80 countries on six continents,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, Emirates Country Manager for Greece, during a media event to celebrate the occasion.
Emirates is recovering from pandemic impact
According to Al Zarooni, despite the significant impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the aviation sector, Emirates is recovering and stepping up its activities to meet the growing demand for travel.
“Not only have bookings for our services to Dubai and New York increased, but we are also seeing a gradual return to long-haul travel as the borders prepare to reopen, for example in Australia, where many Greeks have friends and relatives,” he added.
Emirates has already restored some 90 percent of its network and is currently flying to more than 120 destinations. The airline is now aiming to restore 70 percent of pre-pandemic capacity levels by the end of the year.
“At Emirates we are optimistic and we firmly believe that the worst is behind us and proof of that is that we are re-recruiting 6,000 of our employees that left us and new recruits in order to fill up the demand and the gap we are faced with,” Al Zarooni said.
With regard to the airline further expanding its presence in Greece with new itineraries and additional frequencies, Al Zarooni said Emirates would examine the possibility after the summer of 2022 and depending on the course of the year.
“Our plan is to bring back, hopefully by summer 2022, pre-covid levels,” he said, adding that right now Emirates’ figures are showing that “we are right on path.”
AIA: Emirates is a valuable partner
On her part, AIA’s director of communications and marketing, Ioanna Papadopoulou, said Emirates is one of Athens airport’s most valuable partners.
“Since the opening of our airport in 2001 until today, Emirates has made an extremely important contribution to the interconnection of our airport, the city and our country,” she said.
For these years of operation, specifically between March 2001 until November 2021, Emirates carried some 4 million passengers to AIA.
With regard to capacity during those years, Emirates deployed 6 million airline seats in the Athens market.
“Apart from the great importance of connecting Athens with Dubai, it is also the only airline that connects us to the United States with its flights all year round, offering its passengers a very high quality airline product,” Papadopouolou added.
In addition to passenger flights, Emirates also transports cargo via Emirates SkyCargo, allowing companies to export Greek products, such as electronics, pharmaceuticals and local products including olive oil, strawberries and yogurts through its Dubai hub.
In 2019, Emirates transported over 10,800 tons of cargo to and from Athens, facilitating the movement of goods between Greece and the UAE, as well as other countries in its global network.