Emirates executives visiting Miami to launch a new route to Bogota downplayed reports the leading airline could be nearing a move to join Star Alliance.

The daily flight to the capital of Colombia is an extension of the its current service to Dubai.

When asked about the possibility of joining the global alliance founded by United Airlines, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines, Emirates Executive Vice President of Passenger Sales and Country Management Nabil Sultan Al Murr said, “Our philosophy is to work with an airline or partner where we can add value, so that’s the essence. If you become part of (a global) alliance, you miss the opportunity to work with companies outside the alliance.”

Last year’s announcement of a partnership with United sparked rumors Emirates would join Star Alliance following its 2022 partnership with Air Canada, which is also part of the group.

Rival Qatar Airways is part of the Oneworld Alliance, which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Air Lines, Cathay Pacific Airways, and others.

Neighboring Saudia is part of Delta Air Lines’ led Skyteam, which includes Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air on its roster.

Smaller competitors like Etihad Airways, Oman Air and Kuwait Airways are also non-aligned.

Sultan Al Murr noted Emirates has a longstanding partnership with Australia’s Qantas Airways, a member of Oneworld.

He said its one-by-one approach ensures each partnership makes sense and can deliver similar benefits to the global alliances, including code sharing, through ticketing and lounge access.

Its first passenger route to northern South America features an expansion of a partnership with national carrier Avianca, also a Star Alliance member.

The executive said the flights would enhance trade between the Middle East and Colombia.

Bogota is the 19th destination in the Americas served with its aircraft. More destinations are served via codeshares. The new flight provides the only first-class option on the route and a high-end one at that.

There are eight of Emirates’ famous suites on the Boeing 777-300ERs it is using.

The luxury accommodations include a door that can be closed for extra privacy and a seat that converts into a full bed.

The Middle Eastern carrier has gained a reputation for its lavish inflight service, which includes multiple course meals, including caviar, plus exclusive wines, champagnes and spirits.

There are also 42 lie-flat business class seats and 304 seats in economy class.

All passengers receive complimentary meals and alcoholic beverages, and there is a library of more than 6,500 movies and programs to watch on individual television screens in all cabins of service.

The airline’s fourth destination in South America utilizes the aircraft, which previously would sit on the ground between its morning arrival in South Florida and late evening return to the Middle East.

Emirates already serves Bogota with freighter flights that operate to Dubai via Puerto Rico and the Netherlands, with typical cargo ranging from fresh flowers to fruits and vegetables.

Sultan Al Murr said the airline is planning a trade mission for the Fall using the new route with business executives from the UAE seeking opportunities in Colombia.

During a recent jewelry show in Kuwait, Sultan Al Murr said he was pleased to hear from several designers who plan to use the new service to source gems directly from Colombia.

“Whenever we’ve launched a new route, it’s not just about passengers, but growing investment and engagement,” he told a press conference.

Sultan Al Murr said Emirates’ extensive international network and hub in Dubai lubricate business globally.

Its flights to Buenos Aires average around 90 passengers originating in Japan.

According to AirFleets.net, Emirates currently operates 143 Boeing 777, including 11 freighters, plus 96 Airbus A380 double-decker jets, and one Airbus A319 in a VIP configuration.

Last year, it announced it would offer private charter flights on Embraer Phenom 100s it also uses for pilot training.

However, Sultan Al Murr said there are currently no plans to follow rival Qatar Airways into the business aviation space in a meaningful way.

While the widebody passenger jets on the new Bogota route adds to the airline’s cargo capacity, it is already getting the typical rave reviews from passengers who were on its inaugural flight earlier this week.

Ben Schlappig of the frequent flyer website One Mile At A Time wrote on his blog, “When I board a three-hour flight from my home airport, I’m usually flying American, so you can imagine that this flight felt like something out of the twilight zone. To get the full Emirates experience on a flight this short so close to home is simply unreal.”

He added, “I do have one very serious complaint about the flight – it just wasn’t long enough!”

The flight between Miami and Bogota is three-and-a-half hours. It is Emirates’ third nonstop route from the U.S. to a destination that is not Dubai.

Emirates also flies from Newark to Athens, with the airplane continuing to its home, and a similar flight from New York JFK to Milan.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/717565325/xwveET67Ea9ZGCMg?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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