Emirates celebrates the arrival of its inaugural flight from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), marking the launch of their eleventh U.S. gateway on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Jesus Aranguren/AP Images for Emirates Airline)

MIAMI – Emirates has announced that following lengthy government evaluations, services to Mexico City via Barcelona will begin. The airline’s newest route will commence on a daily basis from December 9, with the airline opting to use the Boeing 777-200LR in its fleet.

Last year, the Dubai-based carrier had dropped its plans to operate flights between Dubai (DXB) and Mexico City (MEX) via a stop in Barcelona (BCN).

The Fifth Freedom flights had originally been approved by the Spanish government, which would grant the Emirati carrier a Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City link.

However, in September, Emirates asserted that the route was not commercially viable, as the agreement only managed to secure three weekly flights and not daily operations.

“Emirates regrets to confirm that we have withdrawn our application to operate flights from Dubai to Mexico via an intermediate stop in Spain,” said the airline in a statement.

The Dubai-based carrier added that even though they had been notified that slots were not an issue at the flight timings requested, “the Mexican authorities have informed us that we will not be able to operate daily services, but only three flights a week.”

The cancelation of Emirates proposed route unfolded after Aeromexico axed its MEX-BCN service plans, citing that the entry of Emirates into this particular market was unfair and predatory.

Back in Business

“We are excited to be able to introduce new air connectivity between Dubai and Mexico,” said Tim Clark, Emirates boss.

“The availability of high-quality, daily international air services is essential for the development of tourism, business and cultural ties. Trade, especially in high-value and time-sensitive products, will be facilitated by the ample cargo capacity on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft.”

Clark explained that the airline will be sending its most powerful aircraft to Mexico because of its high altitude. “It is not possible to operate a non-stop flight from Dubai, and Barcelona was a natural choice for a stopover,” he said.

PHOTO: Emirates.

Clark also noted that he expects tourism to receive “a major boost from the daily flights on our newly-refurbished Boeing 777-200LR.”

The upgraded 777-200LR offers 302 seats in a two-class configuration. Business Class will see 38 seats comes in a 2-2-2 configuration, with there being 264 seats in Economy in a 3-4-3 layout.

PHOTO: Emirates.

Mexico’s Tourist Board played a big role in the. approval of this new route, especially with the strong opposition in the past from Aeromexico on the proposed MEX-BCN segment.

“Mexico supports the launch of the long-awaited flight Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City, which responds to Mexico’s Government tourism policy towards opening new markets and strengthening connectivity between the Middle East and Mexico,” said the Minister of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marques.

“We are pleased to offer a direct connection on the route between the Spanish city and Mexico City that has long been neglected by other airlines and remains underserved despite the strong customer demand.”

This service has been established as citizens from Mexico, Spain and the UAE only need their passports to enjoy visa-free travel to each respective country, offering a boost in tourism links.

Flight EK255 will depart Dubai at 0330L, before arriving into Barcelona at 0800L the following morning. The flight will then depart onwards to Mexico City at 0955L, featuring a late afternoon arrival time of 1615L.

The return, EK256, will depart Mexico City at 1940L, arriving into Barcelona at 1325L the next day. The onwards departure to Dubai will then take place at 1510L, with an early morning arrival of 0045L the next day.

The late arrival time into Dubai, according to Emirates, caters for onward connections to India, South East Asia, and the Middle East alike.

Cargo links through the airline’s SkyCargo subsidiary will benefit from this route, with up to 14 tonnes of cargo being handled per day, consisting of exports like avocados, berries, mangoes, automotive parts and medical supplies.

This will add on to the 22,500 tonnes of cargo Emirates SkyCargo carries from Mexico City since it started operations there in 2014.

The tourist links between the two cities in more recent times have become considerably stronger. In the first five months of this year, Mexican visitor numbers to Dubai have risen 32% compared to the same period last year.