FORT LAUDERDALE — Emirates launched its 154th destination in the world and its 11th destination in the United States with the start of a daily nonstop service between Dubai and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) yesterday.
The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200LR (A6-EWC • MSN 35576 • LN 677) serving flight EK213, arrived at FLL at 10:36 local, with a total flight time of 15 hours and 37 minutes. After touch down, the flight received the customary water cannon salute.
“The arrival of Emirates to our airline porfolio at FLL means Christmas has arrived 10 days early,” Mark Gale, Broward County Airport CEO commented in an event that followed the arrival of the first flight, which is the second destination of Emirates in Florida after Orlando and the second in South Florida after Qatar Airways daily service to Miami.
Gale highlighted the local economic impact of Emirates flight to Broward County, expected to be $105 million annually, supporting 1,000 local jobs in the tourism area.
Since 2004, Emirates has carried more than 16.1 million passengers on its US flights and 740,000 tons of freight between the US and Dubai.
“The Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the United States, servicing more than 29 million passengers this year. We have recently invested $2.4 billion to expand and renovate our airport to insure world class service now and in the future,” Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said. “This is putting us on the map as truly being an international airport,” she concluded.
Hubert Frach, Senior Vice President Western Hemisphere Operations, Emirates, joked about the length of the flight “We can say after 15 hours in the air, we still look as good as Jennifer Anniston,” making reference to the US actress, who is the star of the Emirates TV commercials.
Frach commented that Fort Lauderdale would allow the carrier to codeshare with JetBlue to 32 US domestic destinations, to be further expanded to 13 destinations in the Caribbean and the Americas if approved by the regulatory authorities.
In an interview with Matthias Schmid, Vice President Sales for the United States, Emirates, he admitted that the Emirates’ partnership with JetBlue was the primary reason the carrier chose FLL over Miami for its South Florida destination.
Frach also praised the cooperation of the authorities with Emirates’ to launch the flight in just eight weeks. “Congratulations for pulling this off,” he said.
To date, Emirates took delivery of over 45 billion worth of US aircraft, with other 86 billion on order. The airline is the largest Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 operator in the world.
Emirates offered a silver nao diarama to the Broward County Airport authority, while the County declared December 15 as the Emirates Airline appreciation day.
After nearly 10 hours on the ground, Emirates flight EK214 departed at 20:34 local, with a 100% load factor, according to the airline, load numbers are optimal until April.