Emirates Announces Newark – Athens Flight, Watch Delta’s Head Explode

Emirates just announced new daily service Newark – Athens – Dubai effective March 12.

    Dubai – Athens, 10:50 am – 2:25pm, Emirates EK209
    Athens – Newark, 4:40pm – 10:00pm, Emirates EK209

    Newark – Athens, 11:45pm – 3:05pm+1, Emirates EK210
    Athens – Dubai, 5:10pm+1 – 11:50pm+1, Emirates EK210

My first thought was that adding Newark – Athens service is about the least likely route to succeed.

  • Emirates will fly to Newark, a new airport for them without any other service, incurring all the costs of a station for just a single flight — no economies of scale.

  • Athens is largely a leisure market at this point, low yield, in fact Singapore Airlines has chosen to serve it with their low cost carrier Scoot.

However the Emirates flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER which offers a dense format — 8 first class seats, 42 business, and 304 economy. Business class is angled and 7-across, and economy is 10-abreast.

Emirates Boeing 777

With Emirates cutting costs and with this many seats they should be able to make the flight work with super low fares. Expect to see New York – Athens prices drop.

They still do offer a nice first class, though, the same suites as onboard an Airbus A380 but with no showers and no business class bar.

Expect to see the CEO of Delta’s mind explode. Delta flies New York JFK – Athens seasonally, has led the charge arguing for protectionism cheerleading for Donald Trump to crack down on Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar flying to the US in order to raise prices on consumers. (United flies Newark – Athens seasonally as well, but has been less vocal in opposition to the Gulf carriers than Delta.)

While United, American, and Delta have complained about growth of the Mideast carriers, who offer one-stop service to smaller cities in India, Pakistan and surrounding areas that US carriers do not serve (and that in some cases even their European partners do not serve) some have suspected the real concern is fifth freedom routes — to date, only Emirates has flown transatlantic, offering New York JFK – Milan.

This flight then represents something of a watershed. It will no longer be just one transatlantic flight offered by a Gulf carrier.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. and bad timing too (from an gate utilization standpoint), they need double the workforce since both flight arrive and depart at around the same time (and dual gates)

  2. I wonder if they will use the Virgin Atlantic lounge at Newark.

    Emirates is overrated. 7-across seating in business-class, all with angled beds, is not an industry-leading product. Yes, the marketing of Emirates is great. Yes, the experience is slightly better. But the hard product is interior to say the 1x2x1 business-class experience Delta offers for say Newark-Paris or Newark-Amsterdam.

  3. “to date, only Emirates has flown transatlantic, offering New York JFK – Milan. ”

    Only partially true. CURRENTLY that statement is true, but not historically “TO DATE”. QR used to fly DOH-GVA-EWR before getting the right planes to do DOH-JFK nonstop.

  4. If you have a lie flat seat in business they will be fine. It’s really more about the staff. The Lumpy humpy shitty attitude of All the major US carriers sucks. I do about 150,000 thousand a year on a US carrier. When I use miles for vacation it is a true pleasure to be able to use them with foreign carriers. Turkish air ETC. It’s embarrassing how inferior the service is on the Major US carriers. I want them to be the best I hope this gives them the nudge to have a heart to heart with their staff. Hey it’s natural. The US carrier model with inflight staff is you are in and you stay in for life. As time goes on you become entitled. The way it works with many Gulf Carriers is you get a 3 year contract. You then have a performance/attitude review. If at that point you are not up to snuff it’s over. Fair or not fair it’s none of the US’s business.

  5. The ME3 get 42 billion in government subsidies while the US carriers pay more in taxes than alcohol, tobacco and luxury cars. That’s why they can fly a giant airplane half empty. They don’t have to pay bills.

  6. @C Adams – Fake news, though you’re entitled to your alternate facts.

    US airlines are hugely subsidized and they constantly lobby for more. Emirates is profitable. Regardless, US airlines are the most profitable in the world and aviation-related jobs in the US are at an all-time high. The US airline white paper on Gulf carrier subsidies contained fabrications (fake quotes!), Open Skies benefits not just US consumers but businesses as well [Alaska and JetBlue which partner with Emirates, Fedex which has a shipping hub in the Gulf].

    There’s no coherent economic argument in trade literature to protect mature, profitable industries at the expense of domestic consumes.

  7. I had three times the MQMs I needed for Diamond status on Delta last year, so let me get this off my chest now. If Ed Bastion’s head explodes I will be the first to cheer. Since he became CEO all Delta has done is shove it up its paying First and DeltaOne customers’ rear ends. Sorry, that’s a fact.
    Emirates, IMHO, gets it right. Affordable and luxurious first class. *No* US carrier even comes close.
    AA is doing better in Flagship First, but it ain’t Emirates….

  8. Even if (like Gary) you naively believe that Emirates is not heavily subsidized, the Firth Freedom rights given to Dubai is a terrible trade deal. It is premised on the flying range of airplanes from 25 years ago, and the idea they’d be serving only the small UAE market. Does Emirates have no idea about Trump’s trade policy? Talk about poking the bear. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a poorly timed business decision.

  9. @iahphx – you’re not just wrong on the consequences of policy, you’re wrong on the facts. Claiming “It is premised on the flying range of airplanes from 25 years ago” is just silly when the US-UAE Open Skies Treaty wasn’t signed until 2002.

    Meanwhile, the Boeing 777 makes up the backbone of the Emirates fleet (it’s what will be flown EWR-ATH-DXB as well) was introduced in 1995. The 777-200ER was introduced in 1996. The 777-300 made its first flight in 1997. So these long range aircraft were absolutely in service when the US pursued Open Skies with the UAE (and Qatar, whose agreement was dated 2001).

    Furthermore, the idea of Open Skies as a policy of the United States had nothing whatsoever to do with capabilities of aircraft. In fact long range aircraft make it more desirable to have these agreements with countries farther afield from the US. Surely you don’t think that Open Skies with Europe was predicated on the expectation of the introduction decades later of the A350ULR?!

    You don’t get #alternativefacts

  10. Gary — if you think those Fifth Freedom rights were granted for any reason other than the belief that nonstop service from the USA to the UAE was not economically feasible, you’re being as silly as Emirates is today by poking President Trump. I know that lots of people do not believe that Trump will do what he says, but if he’s ever going to go after a bad trade deal, it’s going to be this one.

  11. Haha yea, Trump’s top priority is obviously a relatively obscure open skies trade deal with the UAE. Obviously he’s been somewhat erratic and unpredictable, but it seems unlikely this is going to be a focus in the near future. Not enough people really care about it.

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