Kolkata a promising mrkt: Emirates
Emirates, the airline owned by the Dubai government, feels eastern India would be a promising market for the international flyer.india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 12:58 IST
Emirates, the airline owned by the Dubai government, feels eastern India would be a promising market for the international flyer.
"There is no doubt that we would make profit. We are committed to this part of the world and we are very honoured that we have the rights to operate here," Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates executive vice president for commercial operations worldwide, said.
Emirates Friday linked the eastern metropolis with Dubai as its inaugural flight touched down here to a gracious welcome.
"We have 70 per cent booking in the first week itself. That is quite encouraging," he said unperturbed by the fact that airlines like Royal Brunei pulled out of the sector in 2004.
"We cannot comment on why another airline pulled out but we are optimistic about the new operations," said Ghaith. "We are offering a $499 inaugural fare between Dubai and Kolkata right now," he said.
"Lots of United Arab Emirates nationals come here and the people to people interaction is very close between the two peoples. So we will try to create awareness about West Bengal also in Dubai but it also rests with the state government here since it takes two to tango," said Ghaith.
The West Bengal government is mulling a monsoon tourism package for Gulf tourists.
"The new flights are well-timed as India readies to sign a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which will catapult its trade with GCC countries to $15 billion in the coming years," said Ghaith.
Ghaith feels the accommodation problem in Dubai for tourists would soon be over with the building of more and more hotels. "We have just launched a new brand called Emirates hotels. We are building hotels for different categories," Ghaith said.
"In Dubai you have hotels for all - super 20 star hotels to the very budget ones. Accommodation would not be an issue anymore and countless new hotels are coming up," he said.
Since its inception in 1985, Emirates has been flying to Mumbai and New Delhi. It later added Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to its list of destinations in India and Kolkata Friday became the seventh destination to be followed by Bangalore in October.
"We want to operate to more cities but it is not up to us. It is a government decision," said Ghaith.
Emirates, a $ 5.2 billion group, has a global network of 82 cities in 52 countries.