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Emirates to expand network in India

Our Bureau

HYDERABAD, June 16

INDIA has become the second biggest traffic destination after the UK for Emirates, the wholly owned airline of the Dubai Government, and the airline is now planning to build further on its network by adding two new destinations - Kochi and Bangalore - and increasing flights to Hyderabad and Chennai.

Putting behind the slowdown blues in the airline and travel industry, in less than a year of the launch of its services to Hyderabad, Emirates has managed a quantum jump in business by running to about 70-80 per cent capacity, the Country Head, Emirates, Mr Nabil Sultan, has said.

Mr Sultan, who was in Hyderabad to receive the Tourism Excellence Award from the Andhra Pradesh Government, said Emirates was honoured to be the only foreign airline recognised by the State Government for instrumental role in leveraging tourism opportunities.

"The award testifies to the airline's initiative of promoting travel and tourism between Dubai and Hyderabad. As a tourism-friendly airline, we will continue our efforts in this direction and plan to latch on to new opportunities," he said.

Emirates currently operates 18 flights weekly between Mumbai and Dubai, eight flights between Dubai and Hyderabad, seven flights between Delhi and Dubai and four flights between Chennai and Dubai.

The airline is now in the process of firming up plans to launch its services to Kochi and Bangalore where it sees huge business potential. "We expect to launch our services before the year-end, subject to all regulatory clearances," Mr Sultan said.

Further, it is also in the process of increasing flights to Chennai and is set to add more flights to Hyderabad during the next few weeks. This was based on the open sky policy announced for a brief period, he said.

"At the Emirates we have a different approach to building traffic. As we launch our services in a new destination, we network with corporates and develop the centre as a destination not only for business travellers but also by building on the tourism business," he said.

"For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, after the launch of the direct flight to Hyderabad, we successfully held the Gitex earlier this year despite the industry going through downturn.

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