Over the weekend, Emirates Airline had a
double inaugural celebration in Auckland, with the arrival of its first flights from Sydney and Melbourne.
Arriving on the first inaugural flight from Sydney, His Highness Sheikh
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates and his VIP delegation were
greeted by the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark. This was
Sheikh Ahmedís first visit to New Zealand.
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In her remarks, the Prime Minister expressed her delight with Emirates' new
services to New Zealand. She was particularly pleased that the routes were
launched only nine months after she had visited Dubai and discussed the possibility with Sheikh Ahmed and Maurice Flanagan.
The second inaugural flight from Melbourne which arrived shortly after,
carried Maurice Flanagan, Emiratesí Vice Chairman and Group President, and
was greeted by the Mayor of Manukau City, Sir Barry Curtis.
The new services offer passengers the choice of 14 flights weekly across the
Tasman Sea with the further choice of two Australian gateways. On October
26, those numbers will increase when Emirates launches a new daily service
to Brisbane, which will continue on to Auckland. Emirates plans to provide
a major boost to the Auckland route by operating the new Airbus A340, non-stop
between Dubai and Sydney and onwards to Auckland from December.
Cargo loads on both inaugural flights were full with shipments for
Singapore, Sydney/Melbourne in addition to Auckland. Shipments into Auckland
comprise spare parts, personal effects and electrical goods while fresh produce is
expected to form most shipments out of Auckland.