Preparations for Emirates' much anticipated new daily service between Dubai and Zagreb are in full swing, with the airline to reveal further details for its upcoming inaugural flight, scheduled for June 1, later this week. The airline has modified its equipment on the route from the initially planned Boeing 777-300 aircraft to the B777-300ER. Although the two feature roughly the same capacity, the extended range version of the jet boasts a refurbished three-class product, including the airline's signature first class suites. The aircraft rostered on to operate flights to the Croatian capital are fitted with Emirates' newest configuration of this type. It will bring over 5.000 weekly two-way seats into the market.
Apart from offering nonstop flights to the Croatian capital, Emirates also expects to attract a significant number of travellers from Slovenia on the route. The Slovenian Tourist Board has also recognised the potential of the new service and is working together with Emirates in boosting the flow of Gulf tourists to Slovenia. "The new flights will not only benefit travellers in Croatia, but also those in neighbouring Slovenia and even the southern regions of Hungary and Austria making it more convenient to travel with Emirates to Dubai and beyond. Visiting the airline’s home of Dubai for leisure or business, in a choice of three different cabins, on a modern, wide-body aircraft, is now a viable option. Onward travel to Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, or Sydney, Melbourne, Maldives, Seychelles and Sri Lanka can all be reached with less than four hours’ transit time", Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Thierry Antinori, said.
|Emirates to offer upgraded first class cabin on Zagreb route|
The airline has forecasts an average cabin load factor of between 70% and 80% on the new route and expects solid occupancy both during the peak summer and slower winter months. "We are introducing this service because of the firm belief that Croatia has strong economic potential, especially in the tourism sector. Croatia has a solid diaspora in the Middle East and Australia, while this service will link Zagreb with forty cities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa", Mr Antinori noted. Zagreb Airport estimates the flights will bring in an extra 80.000 passengers in its first year of operations. Emirates' Area Manager, Martin Gross, recently told EX-YU Aviation News that the carrier has already seen "keen interest from travellers from the Far East" for the new route. Accordingly, Emirates has offered competitive fares out of Zagreb to markets such as China, South Korea and Japan during the high season, rivalling both Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines for the same passenger base. In the last year, an estimated 330.000 travellers flew between Zagreb and markets across the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. These passenger flows are dominated by direct and indirect flights by Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines which account for 71% of this demand.