By JAMES WILKINSON
Emirates is set to launch flights from Dubai to Adelaide on November 1 in a massive boost to South Australian inbound tourism.
The airline will initially launch four flights per week from November 1 before rising to daily flights from February 1, 2013 and all services will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft featuring First, Business and Economy.
In the same announcement, Emirates revealed Perth flights would be increased to 19 services per week from December 1 before going triple-daily from March 1, 2013.
“Emirates is currently in a concentrated and sustained period of global expansion,” said Emirates Airline and Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive, His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
“The addition of Adelaide to our network and the boost to our Perth operations demonstrates our commitment to investment and growth in our Australian operations and highlights the economic strength and global demand for the two cities as business, leisure and investment destinations.
“We will also grow capacity to Melbourne with the introduction of daily A380 services in October, in addition to our existing double decker flight into Sydney,” he said.
Hoteliers have welcomed the move from the Middle East airline, with Accor, Mantra and the two leading associations applauding the long-awaited decision.
“Accor welcomes the arrival of direct Emirates flights into Adelaide and we look forward to the additional visitors these flights will bring to our beautiful state and the city of Adelaide,” said Accor’s Regional General Manager for Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, Adrian Williams.
“When a quality airline like Emirates invests in our state it sends a great deal of confidence through the industry and I know we are all very excited to welcome the daily visitors from the Middle East that these flights will deliver,” he told HM.
Tourism Accommodation Australia’s (TAA) General Manager for South Australia, Ian Horne, said: “We endorse and welcome the opening up of additional entry points into Australia. This is timely in terms of South Australia’s expected mining expansion for which Adelaide is the gateway.
“It also provides important access to iconic tourism destinations such as Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges and South Australia’s legendary wine regions,” Horne told HM.
Mantra’s Regional Manager for South Australia and Western Australia, Scott Alderson, told HM the move was “great news for Adelaide and an excellent opportunity for business events tourism to thrive”.
“With the impending closure of SCEC, business events will be looking at other Australian destinations and Adelaide has the hotel capacity to support this,” he said.
“Coupled with the increased services by Singapore Airlines, this combination will ensure that Adelaide is greatly accessible to both corporate and leisure travellers.”
Mantra has four properties both Adelaide and Perth, and Alderson said the additional West Australian flights were welcome news for the industry.
“Perth will benefit from increased flight capacity from Qatar Airways particularly on weekends and of greater benefit is the potential for regional tourism,” he said.
“It is great news for the likes of our Mantra properties in Bunbury, two hours south of Perth, and Geraldton where the mining sector and tourism is prolific, to capitalise on the increased flights into the WA gateway.”
Hilton’s Vice President for Australasia, Ashley Spencer, told HM: “The increase in Emirates’ flights to Adelaide and Perth are welcome, and show that both destinations are going from strength to strength from a tourism and business travel perspective.
“We wholeheartedly support an increased international airlift to Australia and hope that these new routes are embraced by inbound travellers.”
The Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO, Richard Munro, said: “The announcement that Emirates will commence regular flights to Adelaide is one of the most significant developments for tourism in South Australia in the past decade and understandably, it has generated tremendous enthusiasm within the accommodation industry in the State.
“Traditionally, Adelaide has lagged behind Australia’s other international aviation gateways in terms of number of weekly flights and overall visitor numbers, but Emirates flying into Adelaide Airport will make a sizeable difference.
“It will almost certainly be the vote of confidence that is required for investors to commit to accommodation businesses – either new businesses or upgrading existing product – in South Australia.
“Given the close links between aviation access and investment in tourism accommodation infrastructure, the introduction of Emirates to the South Australian market could be the trigger for new hotels in Adelaide.
“Additional services to Perth are also welcome and will add further strength to the accommodation industry in the WA capital,” Munro told HM.
When all of the new flights commence, Emirates will have exhausted its full capacity of 84 flights per week into Australia.