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Emirates To Start Services To Christchurch

Media release 1 April 2004

Emirates To Start Services To Christchurch

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, today announced that it will fly to Christchurch from 10 June, marking its second footprint in New Zealand after Auckland, which joined the Emirates route network in August last year.

The new connection to Christchurch will be an extension of the upcoming Dubai-Melbourne non-stop service, which Emirates will operate with the ultra long-haul Airbus A340-500 aircraft. Initially flying three times a week, the service will double to six times weekly on 1 August.

This means that Emirates will offer a total of 27 flights a week from New Zealand by August. The airline presently flies to Dubai and beyond from Auckland daily via Sydney, daily via Singapore and Brisbane, and daily via Singapore and Melbourne.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Group, said: "Emirates is happy to offer yet another exciting destination to our passengers. Our Christchurch service will provide excellent connections for New Zealand passengers travelling to Australia, and onward to Europe, Africa or Middle Eastern cities via our Dubai hub. Similarly, it will bring our customers from other parts of the world another speedy and convenient route to New Zealand."

Sheikh Ahmed noted that New Zealand is an increasingly popular destination for leisure travellers from Europe and the Middle East, and Christchurch offers a multitude of options for outdoor and sporting activities amidst a backdrop of scenic mountains, rivers, lakes, and beaches.

"Christchurch is the gateway for outdoor and adventure tourism in New Zealand's South Island, and we anticipate our new service will cater to this growing demand," he added.

George Bellew, Chief Executive for Christchurch International Airport Limited, said: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Emirates to Christchurch. This service brings Christchurch to within one stop of what can be described as Europe's most easterly hub.

"Dubai is one of the dynamos of the Middle East, and Emirates is already one of the world's leading airlines, with a strong reputation for service and quality. We are very much looking forward to the inauguration of Emirates' services in June," he added.

Emirates' new service to Christchurch will also offer cargo belly capacity to exporters in the South Island, and provide a convenient air link to connect their businesses to Australia, the Middle East and points beyond.

>From 10 June, flight EK406 will depart Dubai on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10.10 am, arriving in Melbourne at 5.30 am the next day. It will then fly onward to Christchurch at 7.15 am, touching down at 12.30 pm. Return flight EK407 will take off from Christchurch on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6.05 pm, landing in Melbourne at 7.45 pm. From Melbourne, the flight will depart for Dubai at 9.30 pm, arriving at 5.40 am the next day. All flight times indicated above are local.

>From 1 August, the Dubai-Melbourne-Christchurch service will operate six times weekly, departing Dubai from Mondays through Saturdays.

The Airbus A340-500 aircraft which Emirates will use on this new route carries 12 First Class, 42 Business and 204 Economy passengers, and 14 tonnes of cargo. Emirates has taken delivery of four A340-500s, with four more on order.

The airline has invested US$1.8 billion in its fleet of A340-500s to ensure that its long-haul passengers travel in maximum comfort. The aircraft boast several innovations including the world's first enclosed suites in First Class; mood lighting which help ease jetlag; and an inflight entertainment system with over 500 channels ? three times as many as rival airlines.

Emirates currently operates to 74 destinations in 52 countries. In addition to Christchurch, Emirates will be launching the following new services this year: Budapest (cargo only), Shanghai, Glasgow, Vienna, and New York (passenger flights).

ends

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