Saturday, June 19, 2021

Emirates To Resume Fifth Freedom Barcelona To Mexico Flights In July

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Dubai-based UAE flag carrier Emirates has announced that it will resume operating its fifth freedom route between Barcelona and Mexico City this summer. It plans to operate this service, which is an extension of its existing Dubai-Barcelona route, four times a week.

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR
Emirates will deploy the Boeing 777-200LR on this route. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

July resumption

Emirates announced earlier this week that July 2nd would see it recommence fifth freedom services on the corridor between Barcelona (BCN) and Mexico City (BCN). It hopes that this decision will be a beneficial enterprise in terms of both passengers and cargo. Regarding the service, which will operate four times a week, the airline stated that:

“The resumed service will serve Emirates’ customers in Mexico and offer more choice to travellers heading from Europe, India, South East Asia and the Middle East via Dubai or Barcelona. The service will also provide additional connectivity to global markets for Mexican exports such as avocados, berries, mangoes, automotive parts and medical supplies.”

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Emirates, India, Flight Suspension
Emirates’ 10 777-200LRs have a two-class cabin. Photo: Emirates

The schedule for these flights is as follows. All times are local.

  • EK255 – Dubai 03:25 – Barcelona 08:35, Barcelona 10:50 – Mexico City 16:05. Total duration: 21 hours, 40 minutes.
  • EK256 – Mexico City 19:40 -Barcelona 13:45 (+1), Barcelona 15:30 – Dubai 00:15 (+2). Total duration: 19 hours, 35 minutes.

Emirates initially launched the Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City route in December 2019. It cannot fly directly to the Mexican capital due to the high altitude that its airport is situated at. This reduces lift and, subsequently, takeoff performance, meaning that it would be less viable to get a fully-loaded 777 off the ground for a direct flight to Dubai.

Two-class service

Emirates is planning to deploy its smallest aircraft on this route, namely the Boeing 777-200LR. Interestingly, on the existing Dubai-Barcelona services that it is currently operating, data from RadarBox.com shows that it is instead utilizing the larger 777-300ER. It has even flown the Airbus A380 to Barcelona a handful of times in the last month.

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Emirates, IATA Travel Pass, Health Passport
Emirates is typically using the 777-300ER on its Barcelona services. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

While most of Emirates’ 777-300ERs have a three-class configuration, the cabin onboard the smaller 777-200LR is a slightly simpler affair. The airline confirmed that:

“The BCN-MEX route will be operated with a two-class Emirates Boeing 777-200LR, which offers 38 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, and 264 seats in economy class.”

According to Planespotters.net, there are 10 examples of the 777-200LR in the Emirates fleet. Of these, nine are presently in active service, with just one example currently parked. These aircraft are among the oldest in Emirates’ fleet, with an average age of 12.9 years old.

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Minimal competition

Under the present circumstances, there are obviously far fewer passengers traveling than normal. Therefore, with fewer prospective customers for airlines to be able to fight over, carriers have to be certain that resuming or opening a new route will pay off. However, in the case of Emirates on this route, it seems a rather safe bet.

Aeromexico 787-9
Aeromexico voiced its opposition when Emirates initially launched its fifth freedom services between Barcelona and Mexico City. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Indeed, the UAE flag carrier is currently the only airline to fly directly between Barcelona and Dubai (DXB). As far as the Barcelona-Mexico City leg is concerned, this is also a corridor served by Mexican flag carrier Aeromexico. Interestingly, Aeromexico spoke out against the Emirates fifth freedom route from Barcelona when it first launched in 2019.

Although the airline is not currently operating this route, a quick browse on its booking website suggests that it will be doing so once again by the time Emirates resumes activity on this corridor in July. It will certainly be interesting to see which choice passengers on this route end up favoring. Aeromexico is the only other carrier on the corridor so, with just one airline to compete with, Emirates will surely fancy its chances.

What do you make of Emirates’ planned resumption of fifth freedom flights between Barcelona and Mexico City? Will this be a factor in your travel plans later in the year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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