After a five-year absence, the year-round daily air link between Athens and the New York area is scheduled to resume as Dubai-based airline Emirates on Monday announced it will be starting flights on the route from March 12.
Athens International Airport officials had been trying to get the airline to commit to the service since 2013. However, it wasn’t until recently, when Emirates had had a chance to see that the route made good business sense, that the airline proceeded with the scheduling of this flight, making Athens the intermediary stop in the service linking Dubai with Newark Airport, just 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Midtown Manhattan.
An estimated 600,000-700,000 passengers travel from Athens to North America every year and traffic on direct flights offered on a seasonal basis (i.e. every summer or from spring to fall) grew 52 percent last year to reach some 156,000 passengers.
AIA officials had also approached Qatar Airways for the year-round operation of the route, but the airline’s problems with its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes prevented the start of the service.
Emirates has been operating direct flights from Milan to New York’s JFK Airport since October 2013, which provided it with a clear picture as regards traffic between Europe and the US.
Due to fears of low returns from the route, airlines stopped all direct flights between Athens and the US in 2012, a year when traffic to Athens took a dip. Nowadays there are summer services between Athens and New York by Delta Air Lines (JFK) and United Airlines (Newark), while American Airlines links Athens with Philadelphia.
The Emirates flights will be made on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, offering eight first-class seats, 42 in business class and 304 in economy, as well as a cargo capacity of 19 tons.