Emirates, a global connector of people, places and economies, has commenced a daily nonstop passenger service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Onboard the inaugural flight was a joint VIP delegation from the U.S. and Dubai as well as international media. The inaugural flight carried passengers from more than 20 different countries to Chicago, demonstrating just how Emirates connects people across the globe.
"The Chicago route extends our passenger network to America's third-largest city and complements our existing dedicated freighter service that operates to O'Hare," said Adel Al Redha, Emirates Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. "The launch of this route, will allow us to offer Emirates' unique product and award-winning service to passengers flying to and from the Midwest to our home in Dubai or onwards to more than 140 global destinations including the Far East, Africa and India."
"Launching Chicago-Dubai nonstop passenger service is another important step in establishing Chicago as one of the top tourism destinations in the world and achieving our goal of hosting 55 million visitors by 2020," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Increased connectivity with Dubai will expose more international guests to the world-class hospitality, shopping districts, cultural attractions and architectural achievements that make Chicago one of the greatest cities in the world."
"Increasing access to other parts of the world creates opportunities for travelers and businesses," Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said. "2013 was a record year for tourism in Illinois, and this new nonstop flight will build on the advances we have made. It will also help Illinois stay competitive in the global economy and give our businesses new opportunities to expand their markets and create jobs."
A route for business and leisure
The new service will operate as flight EK235, departing from Dubai International airport at 9:45 a.m. and arriving at O'Hare at 3:25 p.m. The return flight, EK236, will depart O'Hare at 8:35 p.m. and arrive in Dubai at 7:10 p.m. the next day. The route will be served by the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200LR aircraft powered by GE90 engines.
In addition to passenger service, the Chicago-Dubai flight will carry up to 17 tons of cargo per flight and increase trade links between the two cities. Emirates began operating cargo service to Chicago in 2013. Currently, Emirates SkyCargo flies a twice-weekly, dedicated freight service out of O'Hare that carried nearly 12,000 tons of cargo last year.
"This connection will deepen the ties between two of the world's busiest airports in terms of commercial travel, with a combined traffic flow approximately 133 million passengers in 2013," said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. "We look forward to building on O'Hare's successful relationship with Emirates and know that many international travelers will take advantage of this new route," Rosemarie added.
Emirates began passenger services to the U.S. in 2004 with services to New York. The airline has steadily added more U.S. routes over the past decade. Chicago is the ninth U.S. gateway to join the Emirates network, following the launch of the Boston service in March. In the past decade, Emirates has flown more than 9 million people to and from the U.S. and is the airline which carries the most amount of passengers between the U.S. and Middle East. To cater to that demand, Emirates is upsizing services on its Dallas, San Francisco and Houston routes to its iconic double-decker A380 aircraft in late 2014.
Chicago is home to 2.7 million residents. The broader Chicago metropolitan area has the third-largest gross domestic product in the United States and is home to approximately 400 corporate headquarters including Fortune 500 companies such as McDonald's Corp., Walgreen Co., Abbott Laboratories and Boeing Co. – the world's largest aerospace company.
Emirates is the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft in the world, with a fleet of 128 passenger aircraft and 11 freighters. The airline is a launch customer of Boeing's new 777X. In November 2013, Emirates placed the largest single order in commercial aviation history for 150 777X aircraft valued at $76bn. Based on the U.S. Department of Commerce's aerospace export multiplier, this order will support more than 400,000 jobs in the United States.
Connecting cultural and commercial hubs
In addition to being one of America's most important economic engines, Chicago is famous for its cuisine, arts and entertainment, professional sports, neo-classical architecture and iconic tourist destinations that host more than 48 million visitors each year.
From deep dish pizza and hot dogs with eclectic condiments to the city's 25 Michelin Star restaurants, Chicago is one of America's rising culinary capitals and will host the prestigious 2015 James Beard Awards. Chicago's professional sports teams routinely rank at the top of all American franchises in terms of attendance and financial value. Chicago is the birthplace of urban blues and house music, and has produced homegrown stars such as Buddy Guy, Wilco, Chaka Khan, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and the late Frankie Knuckles, godfather of Chicago's house music.
Chicago is also considered to be America's urban architectural jewel. Its famous neoclassical architecture dates back to the city's redesign following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Chicago's Sears Tower – now called the Willis Tower – stood as the tallest building in the world for 25 years following its construction in 1973. Dubai's Burj Khalifa currently holds the title at more than 160 stories (828m).
Dubai is the largest financial hub in the Middle East and offers excellent convention and exhibition facilities, leisure attractions and shopping options. With more than 55,000 hotel rooms, Dubai is a top travel destination for work and pleasure. Emirates' global hub in Terminal 3 Dubai International (DXB) provides passengers with seamless connectivity in state-of-the-art surroundings. The Chicago-Dubai flight will offer convenient connections to other destinations throughout the Middle East, Africa, India, the Far East and beyond.
Whilst aboard the 14-hour, 40-minute flight, passengers can enjoy Emirates' renowned service provided by a multilingual crew from more than 120 countries, gourmet on-board dining and inflight entertainment system – ice Digital Widescreen – with more than 1,800 channels of movies, TV programs, music and podcasts. Ice has just been voted the world's best inflight entertainment system for the tenth year in a row by Skytrax, the world's largest airline passenger satisfaction survey of more than 18 million passengers worldwide. The aircraft features a three-cabin configuration with eight private First Class suites, 42 Business Class lie-flat beds and 216 Economy Class seats.