Emirates' inaugural flight to Cochin Monday, December 2, has opened up a direct route to the southwestern Indian state of Kerala, renowned as the green gateway of India. The new operation brings the airline's destinations in India to five, with Cochin joining Delhi in the north, Mumbai in the west, and Chennai and Hyderabad in the east.
Emirates will be offering thrice weekly services to Dubai. Emirates is currently operating a temporary office in Cochin, at Muthoot Towers, M.G. Road. A permanent office will be opened shortly in the city, which will be managed by Pradeep Suvarna, Emirates' newly appointed Sales Manager for Kerala state.
Emirates now flies three times a week, non-stop, between Dubai and Cochin, operating an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a three-cabin service offering 18 First Class, 42 Business Class and 183 Economy Class seats. The airline recently concluded a codeshare agreement with national carrier, Air India, giving its customers the opportunity to book seats on Emirates' services between Dubai and Cochin.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Emirates' flight EK530 departs Dubai at 0350hrs, arriving in Cochin at 0900hrs. The return flight, EK531, leaves Cochin later in the morning at 1025hrs, touching down in Dubai at 1300hrs. All times are local.
The new service to Cochin enhances the comprehensive network of online and offline destinations in South India for customers of the airline's airfreight division, Emirates SkyCargo. Cochin exports mainly handicrafts, spices, fish and perishables while personal effects form the bulk of imports.
Emirates SkyCargo operates a trucking system between Chennai and Hyderabad, plus Bangalore as an offline destination. Plans are in hand to include Cochin on the trucking network. Regional tour operator Emirates Holidays is offering holiday packages to Kerala, including breaks at spa resorts.
Cochin is the 64th destination on the Emirates network, which covers 45 countries on four continents. The network will be further expanded next year when the airline starts services to Lagos on March 31 (subject to government approval), Moscow on July 1 and Shanghai on August 2. Emirates is also planning to start operations to North America in 2003, with the delivery of the long-range Airbus A340-500 aircraft. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )