MIAMI — Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is continuing its never-ending stream of expansion, announcing the launch of daily nonstop services between its global hub at Dubai and Boston, to commence from 10th March, 2014 using a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft seating 266 passengers in a 3-class configuration (8F / 42J / 216Y). Flight schedules for the new route are as follow:

Route Depart Arrive Frequency
DXB – BOS 0945 1515 Daily
BOS – DXB 2255 1910 Daily
Emirates’ announcement comes less than 3 months after rival Middle Eastern carrier Turkish Airlines announced its own launch of services to Boston utilizing Airbus A330-200 equipment. However, Turkish Airlines will not launch services until 12th May, 2014, more than two months after Emirates. The launching of a new US route by Emirates to upstage a Middle Eastern rival is not new; a similar pattern occurred at Washington Dulles International, where Abu Dhabi based rival Etihad Airways announced service before Emirates, only to see Emirates launch the destination first. Another similar pattern emerged with Turkish following Emirates into Houston earlier in April of this year
Boston will become Emirates 8th US destination, after Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle-Tacoma. Emirates will also launch its third daily service into New York JFK from October of this year, and add capacity to Los Angeles in December by up-gauging from the Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380.

As with most of Emirates’ North American destinations, it will be able to draw heavily on origin and destination (O&D) demand to and from the Indian subcontinent. Annual Boston daily O&D demand to Dubai is just 19 passengers per day, but adding in Indian destinations alone adds a further 199 daily passengers worth of O&D demand to draw upon, including extremely high yielding traffic from the technology industry to Bangalore.

The move is step forward in Emirates’ plan to more than double its North American destinations over the next three to five years. The clear cut targets for expansion include Boston (just launched), Chicago O’Hare, and Miami as per a Reuters interview with Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori, but that still leaves four additional destinations to be added.

Of the remaining possibilities, the most likely destinations include Newark, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Newark would further strengthen Emirates’ offering in the New York City metropolitan area, and New Jersey is actually the single largest origin point for demand to India in the United States.

Philadelphia would allow the carrier to bracket the northern half of New Jersey (which is a massive source of O&D) demand to the Middle East, and the city is an important demand center in its own right. Detroit would be an easy choice given the city’s massive Middle Eastern and South Asian population, though the traffic base skews heavily towards leisure (namely visiting family relatives [VFR]) traffic.

The fourth destination is a bit of a tossup. Atlanta has plenty of business traffic demand and strong ties via immigrant populations to Africa. But Delta, a fierce competitor, already serves Atlanta-Dubai nonstop, and both Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have discussed service to Atlanta in the past. Orlando and Las Vegas, both important tourist destinations (though with entirely different draws), are the other major possibilities due to traffic volumes. An interesting wild-card is San Jose, with the premium traffic draw of Silicon Valley nearby. But service to San Jose would cannibalize the existing San Francisco flight, so that is unlikely. And down the line, if growth continues as is, Austin might become a candidate for Emirates six to ten years from now, though much is uncertain.