Emirates’ inaugural Flight 247 made its first landing at Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil before departing for its first onwards connection to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Announcing the new routes, Emirates Regional Manager for East Africa Essa Ahmad Sulaiman said the new linked service to two of the most economically vibrant cities in South America will not only boost trade ties with Kenya, but will also introduce Kenyan travellers and those from the east African region to Emirates’ route network spanning points across the globe.
“Emirates will offer customers in Kenya and the east Africa the most efficient and comfortable route to the Brazil and Argentina, which are key trading partners with Kenya and other countries in East African region,” said Sulaiman.
Broadly, Kenya is shifting focus to emerging economies in Asia and Latin America to help bolster trade and investment.
In 2010, Kenya and Brazil signed a series of trade agreements, one of which will see Brazil offer to help Kenya enhance its biodiesel production. The trade agreements are also meant to address the increasing trade deficits between the two countries.
In 2009, Kenya exported goods amounting to Sh81million only against goods worth Sh5 billion imported to Kenya by Brazil.
“We believe new flights we have introduced will help improve the link between Kenya and the two South American economic giants as more Kenyan explore Brazil and Argentina for business and leisure,” said Sulaiman.
The Nairobi-Dubai-Rio de Janeiro-Buenos Aires flight is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offering eight First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 304 seats in Economy Class.
EK 247 leaves Dubai daily at 0710hrs and arrives at Rios Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport at 1537hrs. It departs Rio at 1723hrs, arriving at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza) at 1930hrs.
From Buenos Aires, EK 248 departs at 2130hrs, arriving in Rio at 0123hrs the following day. The aircraft will depart Rio at 0310hours, arriving in Dubai at 2250hrs.
Emirates has a fleet of 168 aircraft and is the world’s largest Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 operator. With an order for 50 new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft placed at the Dubai Airshow in November, Emirates now has 237 aircraft on order, worth over $84 billion at list prices.
Emirates now flies to 118 destinations in 69 countries. Over the next two months, the airline will launch a further five destinations: Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Seattle and Dallas.