Emirates, a global connector of people, places and economies, has today marked its inaugural flight to Brussels in Belgium. The new daily service will see up to 16,000 Emirates customers travelling on the daily Boeing 777-200LR between Dubai and Brussels each month.
As the airline's 145th worldwide route, Emirates will play a key role in further developing natural business links between Belgium and key markets in the Far East. Emirates also estimates that it will deliver a boost to the country's tourism sector, with Belgium a popular jumping off point for Europe bound travellers from Australasia.
"We've had lots of customers asking us to fly to Brussels over the years so this really is fantastic news for them. Belgium's tourism is thriving and we believe that we can drive demand even higher by providing great competition with our multi-award winning product and service," said Thierry Aucoc, Emirates' Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Europe and Russian Federation.
"Emirates is the only airline offering First Class seats from Brussels to destinations in the Far and Middle East, providing an unrivalled premium experience for our passengers. As headquarters for a huge number of major global corporations we are already seeing strong bookings from markets like China, the UAE, Japan and India, one of Belgium's largest trade partners."
Emirates has been working with a number of Belgian based suppliers for many years, most significantly the luxury chocolatier Godiva. In the last 12 months nearly four million boxes of twin Godiva chocolates, manufactured in Brussels, have been handed out globally to the airline's First Class and Business Class passengers.
The UAE is a key trading partner of Belgium with more than €4 billion of goods exchanged between the two countries each year. Both import and export of goods have grown steadily since 2009 with 1504 Belgian companies exporting goods to the UAE in the last year.
Over 30 Belgian companies successfully operate within the UAE. In fact, two of the Dubai's most iconic landmarks were, in part, constructed by Belgian companies. Belgian construction firm Besix played an integral role in the construction of the Burj Khalifa and the Jan De Nul Group were responsible for the reclamation of 186,500,000 m³ of sand, for the creation of the world-renowned Palm Jumeirah Islands.
Tourism to Brussels from the UAE has grown significantly in the last five years with the number of visitors more than tripling since 2009. The new direct link from Dubai to Brussels is expected to grow this sector even further, as well as increasing inbound traffic from key markets in the Far East and Australasia.
"The arrival of Emirates in Brussels confirms the role that Brussels Airport plays in connecting Belgium and Europe with the rest of the world. We are pleased that Emirates has decided to link Dubai with the European Capital and that their Belgian and foreign passengers will enjoy the high quality of service offered by both Emirates and Brussels Airport. The launch of this daily service to Dubai will create 150 new on-site jobs," explained Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport Company.
Belgium's cargo exports account for 86 percent of the country's GDP and Emirates SkyCargo will help boost this by adding up to 17 tonnes of cargo per day. Key export commodities include pharmaceuticals, automotive spare parts, chocolates, machinery and equipment and electronics.
Belgian First Officer, Amaury De Doncker was in the cockpit for today's inaugural Emirates flight to Brussels and is one of 170 Belgian nationals working for the airline. The UAE is an increasingly popular expat location for Belgian nationals with more than 3000 currently calling the country home.
Emirates' new daily flight to Brussels departs Dubai as EK183 at 0750hrs* and arrives at Brussels International Airport, at 1315hrs* the same day. The return flight, EK184 will depart at 1445hrs* and arrives at Dubai International Airport at 2325hrs* the same day.
Emirates' customers arriving at Brussels Airport will benefit from the airport's train station that offers convenient city centre connections as well as links to neighboring Belgian cities such as Antwerp and Ghent.
Throughout all cabin classes, passengers can enjoy up to 1,800 channels of entertainment on demand on ice, the airline's award-winning in-flight entertainment system.
Passengers on all Emirates flights also have the added bonus of generous baggage allowance with 30 kilogrammes for those travelling in Economy Class, 40 kilogrammes for Business Class and 50 kilogrammes for First Class.
Brussels is the 37th European passenger destination for Emirates, following the launch of Oslo in Norway earlier this week. Emirates will expand its European portfolio further next month with the launch of Budapest in Hungary on 27th October.