Hola Mexico! Emirates makes new gateway to Americas
ANOTHER FIRST: Emirates is the first Middle East carrier operating to a Mexican airport. - Supplied photo
Daniela Marcius, an accounting professional from Mexico City, has been living with her husband in Dubai for several years. She would visit her hometown twice a year after a stopover at the United States but it was nothing short of a hassle, she admits. "I am so glad we don't have to go via United States anymore as during our transit we had to face long procedures and stringent checks at US customs and immigration. We were thrilled when we heard the news about the launch of the Emirates flight one year ago. We made sure that we got onboard the first flight to Mexico City. Now with this flight, the journey is more pleasant, comfortable and hassle free. We are really relieved."
Marcius was one of more than 300 passengers who was part of the historic flight that took off from Dubai at 3:30 local time on December 9, Monday, and touched down in Mexico City via Barcelona. The Emirates Boeing 777-200LR flight with 38 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout, and 264 seats in Economy Class, included a group of VIP guests and media onboard. In Dubai and Barcelona, the passengers were greeted to various musical performances taking them through a journey of Mexico's culture and traditions.
"Emirates flight EK255 has arrived at Mexico International Airport. The local time is 4:15pm and the temperature outside is 25 degrees Celsius," announced the flight captain, his last words sinking into a huge round of applause and a water cannon salute at the airport. With broad grins and smiles, the passengers from Dubai, led by the high-profile delegation, disembarked the aircraft. What followed was hugs, handshakes and group photos with the Mexican authorities.
Speaking with Khaleej Times, Alonzo Sumsodien, a South African national said, "I work in Mexico's offshore oil drilling and every time I had to travel from my hometown to Mexico, I had to go via long hauls in Europe. This time I flew to Dubai from South Africa and then took this inaugural flight all the way to Mexico City via Barcelona. Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world and I enjoy flying with it. Earlier I would go home once in six weeks but with this new flight I would surely travel more often."
Marking the importance of this new gateway in Americas, Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President Commercial Operations for the Americas, told Khaleej Times, "With this new daily service, Mexico is now linked with the Middle East through Dubai. It will not only bring more revenue to our network, but also open up channels for trade and tourism. Emirates is the first Middle East carrier operating to a Mexican airport, the hub of Latin American trade. The flight will link Mexico to Dubai in the Middle East facilitating convenient onward connections to numerous destinations in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Mexico is a new market for us known for its fruits, vegetables and meat and the daily Emirates flight will undoubtedly boost our trade."
The new 777 flight also offers up to 14 tonnes of cargo, opening up access to more global markets for Mexican exports such as avocados, berries and other fresh produce. Emirates SkyCargo has been flying freighters to and from Mexico City since 2014 already and since April 2018 has carried over 33,000 tonnes of cargo on the route.
The daily service, Emirates flight EK 255, departs Dubai at 03:30 local time, arriving in Barcelona at 08:00 before departing again at 09:55 and arriving into Mexico City at 16:15 on the same day. The return flight EK256 departs Mexico City at 19:40 local time, arriving in Barcelona the next day at 13:25. EK256 departs once again from Barcelona at 15:10 bound for Dubai where it arrives at 00:45 the following day. Nationals of Mexico, Spain and the UAE do not require visas to travel to any of the three countries.
At a press conference held in Mexico City, on Tuesday, Miguel Torruco Marques, Secretary of Tourism in Mexico, said: "The new route is very important as the capital of our country is the first Emirates destination in Mexico. Currently there's only one service daily, but depending on the demand from passengers, the airline can increase the frequency of the flight. The key element of tourism is connectivity as it shortens distances and time between cities, countries and continents. Among the main objectives of tourism in Mexico is diversifying our market. The flight will boost the arrival of tourists with higher purchasing power from the UAE and other connections including India. During 2018, 523,000 tourists from the UAE arrived to Mexico, which is 8.1% more than in 2017. We also expect an increase in tourists from Spain. Today UK flights bring the most tourists from Europe but with this flight there will be an increase in tourists from Spain."
"This flight will also ease the promotion endeavors we carry out internationally through our schemes. We will present our very vast cultural tourist attractions to the rest of the world. There will be a boom in exports. We hope to contribute to help our wonderful artisans and our cultural heritage. The sector of tourism will continue to look at new markets in order to make our city an important tourism destination. This year we hope to close with over 43 million tourists. Mexico is open to the entire world. Emirates from the Middle East knocked on our doors and we happily welcomed them. Whoever knocks on our door, we will welcome them with open hands," he added. - firstname.lastname@example.org