South Australia marked a historical milestone for Adelaide as it received its first direct commercial flight call from Dubai-based Emirates, effectively making the airline the first Gulf carrier to fly to South Australia.
On Thursday, Emirates launched flight EK440 which utilizes an Emirates' Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Initially flying four times weekly from Dubai to Adelaide, it will later on increase to daily services effective first of February 2013.
It has all first, business and economy classes on board.
"We are investing in South Australia for the long haul, dedicating a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to the route fitted with our highest on-board product offering and employing more than 150 South Australians in airline and airport service," Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Far East and Australasia, said during the inaugural flight to Adelaide.
"We have long held ambitions to operate flights to Adelaide, and today heralds a new level of connectivity from South Australia to Dubai, and the world with Emirates international network of more than 120 destinations," he said.
When the service becomes daily next year, Emirates expects an additional 5,000 international seats per week on the route, which could mean a boost of 30 per cent for the market, opening jobs and investment in South Australia's A$53bn tourism sector and adding 14 tonnes of commercial cargo space on each flight, Mr Obaidalla said.
The new service expects to fly more than 200,000 passengers annually between South Australia and Dubai. UK and Europe are expected to be strongest markets for both inbound and outbound travel.
Flight EK441 departs Adelaide at 10.45pm every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, reaching Emirates' Dubai hub at 5.25am the next day.
The return Dubai-Adelaide leg, EK440, wheels up at 1.55am for arrival into Adelaide at 8.45pm.