Small world: Emirates Airline opens up new commercial gateways

As Emirates Airline launches a host of new international routes, the economic benefits for its latest destination cities – and beyond – could be significant

Emirates Airline’s launch of a raft of additional routes in early 2012 could usher in a fresh era of trade and connectivity between these new destinations and economic powerhouses in the East such as India and China.

Cities that stand to benefit include Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, both of which joined the Dubai flagship carrier's route network earlier this month, and Seattle, which debuts in March.

The economic potential for Seattle was hinted at by London-based veteran airline consultant John Strickland. Speaking to The Seattle Times, Strickland suggested that the US city may experience a boost in business and tourist travel due to the new Emirates Airline service between Seattle and Dubai.

Strickland said that Emirates Airline has tended to expand business at all the airports it has gone into, generating new traffic. When Emirates started flying to Shanghai, he said, unexpected traffic growth arose from Chinese businessmen flying to Africa. When it opened flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, Japanese travelers filled planes en route to the thriving Japanese community there.

Mark Reis, Managing Director of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, highlighted the potential enhanced commercial ties between India and Seattle: “Emirates is effectively the international carrier for India, and India is Seattle's fastest-growing market for air travel, outpacing even China,” he said.

The airline’s recent decision to add Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires routes will also accelerate burgeoning trade links between Argentina and the UAE. According to Walid Al Kaddour, Director of the Arab Argentine Chamber of Commerce: “The value of goods Argentina exports to the UAE has risen by over 40 per cent since 2006, totalling over US$270m in 2010.”

He added: “With a direct air link between the two countries, we fully expect this growth pattern to continue.”