Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Wed April 08 2015

U.S. Travel Execs Excited By Emirates' Dubai-Orlando Service

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | April 08, 2015

U.S. Travel Execs Excited By Emirates' Dubai-Orlando Service

Who knows how long it will take to resolve the disagreement between U.S.-based airlines and the three major Middle East Gulf carriers over alleged subsidies and unfair labor practices.

In the meantime, the Gulf airlines continue to add U.S. destinations to their itineraries at a rapid pace.

Emirates Airlines has announced new daily service between Dubai and Orlando that will start on Sept. 1. While the central Florida vacation site is famous for its Walt Disney World and Universal theme parks, Emirates cited a strong business base with thriving industries in Advanced Technology, Film and Digital Media production, Aerospace and Life Sciences.

“Orlando is one of the world’s premier leisure and conference destinations, a dynamic business centre and a destination which Emirates has long wished to serve,” Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said in a statement. “As a growing region, we believe that our service will facilitate further growth for both Orlando as well as central Florida by connecting the city with our global network of 145 destinations across 80 countries; and give customers from Orlando the choice of flying Emirates whilst experiencing our award-winning inflight product and service.”

Emirates will utilize a Boeing 777-200LR with eight First Class suites, 42 Business Class lie-flat beds and 216 Economy Class seats. The flight from Orlando International to Dubai International will take 14 hours and 10 minutes; the return will take 15:50.

Emirates noted that its customers can also connect onto many destinations in the US, the Caribbean and South America through the airline’s codeshare agreement with JetBlue. Unlike American, Delta and United, which are appealing the open skies agreement and allege that the Gulf carriers have received $42 billion in government subsidies over the last 10 years, JetBlue has staunchly defended the arrangement.

"JetBlue is delighted to see our codeshare partner Emirates expand into Orlando, one of our largest and most important markets," said Scott Laurence, JetBlue's senior vice president of airline planning. "This is not only great news for Central Florida travelers but also for visitors from around the globe who will gain new travel options to the Caribbean and Latin America when connecting on JetBlue through Orlando International Airport."

U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow – another supporter of open skies that has put him odds with the three major U.S. airlines and several unions – also released a statement in support of the new Dubai-Orlando route.

"All too frequently, aviation news is dominated by announcements of fewer options, less comfort and shrinking value. By contrast, this pro-growth development demonstrates that international airlines can spur American jobs by providing supply where there is previously unmet demand," Dow said. "America sorely needs this kind of infusion of air service and customer service, not to mention the quality, unexportable jobs that are generated by increased travel."

Orlando will be the 10th U.S. passenger destination Emirates serves.

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