Please let this be true, please let this be true, please let this be true…
Report: Emirates to launch Dubai to Miami flights
World Airline News is reporting that as of July 21, 2021, Emirates will be launching a new 4x weekly nonstop flight between Dubai (DXB) and Miami (MIA).
The 7,845 mile route would be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, featuring 354 seats. This includes eight first class seats, 42 business class seats, and 304 economy seats.
I can’t speak to the accuracy of this news (though the source is usually pretty accurate), so for now we’ll mark this as a rumor. For what it’s worth, I had independently heard a similar rumor from someone else who is usually well informed a few days ago. I’ve reached out to both Emirates and Miami Airport to ask for a comment, and haven’t heard back as of the time this post is going live.
Emirates has been operating cargo-only service to Miami in recent months, while this alleged new route would represent a new passenger service.
Emirates may launch a Dubai to Miami passenger service
Emirates recently cut Fort Lauderdale flights
In 2016, Emirates launched a Dubai to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) route. Why did the airline choose Fort Lauderdale over Miami? It was primarily due to Emirates’ codeshare agreement with JetBlue, given that the airline has quite a bit of connectivity from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean and Latin America. Meanwhile in Miami, Emirates would have had virtually no connectivity.
Unfortunately the JetBlue link seemingly wasn’t enough, and during the pandemic it was revealed that Emirates would permanently cancel the Fort Lauderdale route.
The assumption was that the airline just decided to stop serving South Florida altogether, though if we do see a Dubai to Miami route launch, then it could mean we’re just seeing the airline tweak which airport it flies to.
While Emirates cut Fort Lauderdale service, the airline maintained its Dubai to Orlando route, so it’s interesting to see that route was performing better.
Emirates has cut its Dubai to Fort Lauderdale flight
Does an Emirates route to Miami make sense?
Let me start by acknowledging that I’m highly biased — I’m a Miami resident who has a strong preference for flying out of Miami over Fort Lauderdale.
I’d not only love to be able to drive just 15 minutes to Miami Airport and hop on an Emirates plane, but I’m also excited at the prospect of flying Emirates first class out of Miami, since Emirates generally flew a plane without first class out of Fort Lauderdale (and Qatar Airways’ Qsuites business class is infinitely better than Emirates’ 777 business class).
Emirates’ 777-300ER business class
That being said, I want to drop my bias for a moment, and objectively consider whether there’s any chance it could make sense for Emirates to fly out of Miami if Fort Lauderdale didn’t make sense.
Here’s my general take:
- The JetBlue partnership alone shouldn’t have been enough reason for Emirates to choose Fort Lauderdale over Miami; many of these destinations are also served by JetBlue out of New York, and the Dubai (and beyond) to Caribbean/Latin America market isn’t huge
- Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines also fly to Miami, though both have advantages over Emirates — Qatar Airways is in the oneworld alliance so has American Airlines feed, while Turkish Airlines flies closer to where people from Miami are actually traveling (including many points in Europe, like Russia)
- While I do think Miami is becoming a “hotter” city (and not just in terms of people escaping coronavirus lockdowns), ultimately it’s still not going to be a huge market from the Middle East (and most of Asia, for that matter) anytime soon
- That being said, opportunities are limited for airlines right now, and I do think Miami may make sense at this very point — if the airline can make a cargo service to Miami work, then throwing passengers into the mix as well could be the icing on the cake
- Miami is a much bigger cargo market than Fort Lauderdale — it’s the fourth busiest cargo airport in the USA (after Memphis, Anchorage, and Louisville), while Fort Lauderdale isn’t even in the top 50
- In the coming months there will be huge opportunities to transport cruise workers back to Florida, especially from the Philippines; while not the highest yield traffic, this fills seats, and is more than breakeven
- One thing I’m not sure of is how much additional passenger traffic Emirates would get to Miami over Fort Lauderdale, either due to the convenience of the airport, or due to what online travel agencies display when you’re looking at traveling to Miami
While there’s nothing official yet, my money is on this becoming a reality. Emirates can make cargo flights to Miami work, and at that point it could make sense to add passengers into the mix as well, especially with flying opportunities limited right now.
While I’m not convinced the route will last forever, I absolutely could see it launching.
Emirates first class to Miami sure would be nice!
While there hasn’t been any official confirmation yet, it’s being reported that Emirates plans to launch passenger flights between Dubai and Miami as of July 2021. Miami has historically been a tough international passenger market beyond the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe, though I could totally see this happening, especially with the airline already operating a consistent cargo service to Miami.
Here’s to hoping there’s an announcement in the coming days.
Do you think Emirates will launch flights to Miami, and if so, do you think the airline will be more successful than in Fort Lauderdale?