Emirates helps sprout uplift in long-haul connectivity from Brussels

Emirates Airline has carried over half a million passengers between its Dubai International Airport hub and the Belgian capital since launching operations to Brussels on September 5, 2014 and continues to grow demand both inbound and outbound thanks to the connectivity options its delivers behind and beyond its Gulf hub.

In 2015, its first full calendar year of flights, air passenger demand between Brussels and Asia and Australasia was up 9.0%, according to demand data from OAG with origin and destination flows in and out of Northeast Asia growing 10.1%, Central Asia 9.9% and Southeast Asia 7.3% between 2014 and 2016. Into Africa indirect passenger flows grew 12.4% in 2015, with traffic in and out of Eastern Africa showing the strongest regional performance (up 26.5% between 2014 and 2016).

Emirates arrived in Brussels after its United Arab Emirate (UAE) hub rival Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, but its wide network of services from Dubai has helped it supplement the point-to-point traffic flows with significant transfer traffic, offering a number of new one-stop direct destinations and alternative options to the existing connectivity already provided into Asia.

This comprised flights from Hainan Airlines into Beijing, Jet Airways into Delhi and Mumbai and Thai Airways International to Bangkok.  Middle East Airlines also provided non-stop links to Beirut and Brussels Airlines, El Al and Jetairfly to Tel Aviv. Since its arrival Jet Airways has subsequently moved its European scissor hub at Brussels to Amsterdam, with Brussels Airlines resurrecting its Mumbai connection and All Nippon Airways (ANA) has added flights to Tokyo.

As well as providing choice and convenience for both Belgian customers and inbound visitors, Emirates’ operations over recent years have made a positive impact on Belgium’s tourism, trade, investment and employment.

Analysis by The Blue Swan Daily of OAG data shows the main markets passengers on Emirates’ flights to and from Brussels were connecting to and from in Dubai last year highlights Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, the main international airport in Mauritius as the largest indirect market. Other top five markets comprised Bangkok, Thailand; Mumbai, India; Cape Town, South Africa; and Manila, Philippines.

Keen to build on its already significant economic contribution, Emirates is adding a second daily service between Dubai and Brussels from October 29, 2017, both to meet existing demand and to stimulate new growth. This will be flown using a Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class configuration – eight Private Suites in First Class; 42 lie-flat seats in Business and 310 seats in Economy.

Inbound tourism is also expected to receive a significant boost, the new flight creating an anticipated 50,000 more tourist arrivals and generating over USD 110 million of tourist revenues for the Belgium economy annually.

The second daily flight, offering additional cargo capacity in the belly hold of the wide-body Boeing 777-300ER, will enhance trade links between Brussels and Dubai, transporting pharmaceuticals, perishables such as chocolates and automotive parts from Belgium to the UAE and beyond.

The new year-round flight will depart Brussels at 20:15 and arrive in Dubai at 05:55, enabling more convenient connections to South African destinations of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban as well as Nairobi in Kenya, with short transits in Dubai. Passengers travelling to Indian Ocean destinations including Mauritius, the Maldives (Male) and the Seychelles (Mahé) will also benefit from the improved flight connectivity.

The new frequency will facilitate easier connections to several East Asian countries, such as Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam, Bali in Indonesia and Guangzhou in China. Passengers can now also connect via Dubai to Emirates’ direct flight to Auckland in New Zealand.

The evening flight time out of Brussels also makes Dubai itself an even more favourable option for local traffic- the early morning arrival time allows Belgian travellers the whole day for business or to kick start a holiday or short break in the UAE.

Emirates’ current daily service (departing Brussels 15:05 and landing in Dubai 23:40; and departing Dubai 08:20 arriving in Brussels 13:25) already contributes some $24 million to the Belgian economy, through direct expenditure such as advertising, aircraft handling costs and in-flight catering. The second daily service is anticipated to increase that considerably, multiplying the wider indirect benefits of the carrier’s operations and the two flights combined supporting around 3,000 jobs in Belgium.