DUBAI: In October 2002, Emirates became the first airline to link Japan and the Gulf region with non-stop flights when it introduced its four-times-per-week service to Osaka. Now serving three points in Japan daily, Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, has carried over 3.9 million passengers* in 15 years of service to Japan. The number of passengers carried in Emirates’ first year of operations–roughly 66,000 in 2002—has grown to nearly 530,000 passengers carried between Dubai and Tokyo (Narita and Haneda) and Osaka in 2016. This achievement is the result of Emirates’ commitment to providing the Japanese market with convenient and innovative products and tailor-made services.
Adapting to demand in terms of both quality and volume, Emirates continues to improve passenger experience in Japan. The opening of the dedicated Emirates Lounge at Narita (Tokyo) in 2015, and the introduction of the A380 to Narita in 2017, which increased capacity per flight by more than 135 passengers per flight, are most notable. Emirates’ flights from Japan depart at night, allowing passengers to have a full day in Japan prior to their journey. Uniquely on routes to and from Japan, Emirates offers special Japanese cuisine, including the Kaiseki course meal and the premier selection of Sushi in First Class as well as a specially arranged Bento box and Sushi platter in Business Class, along with Japanese sake available in all classes.
Emirates SkyCargo has also played an important role in connecting Japan to the world, carrying more than 60,000 tons of cargo between Dubai and Japan between April 2014 and March 2017. Currently, major cargo imports include time-sensitive items such as cut flowers and salmon, as well as textiles. Major exports include high-tech items such as auto parts, machinery and electrical goods. Top export destinations include Dubai, Johannesburg, Barcelona, Bahrain and St. Petersburg.
Emirates’ services have contributed to Japan’s continued growth as a tourist destination. The number of inbound visitors increased by roughly 18% year-on-year as of August 2017 (source: JNTO). An upcoming attraction for tourists to Japan will be the Rugby World Cup 2019, one of the largest sporting events in the world for which Emirates serves as an Official Worldwide Partner. Emirates’ destinations in Japan remain popular with visitors from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in particular cities such as London, Barcelona, Casablanca, and Rome.
Commenting on the milestone, Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations Far East, said: “Over the years, we have achieved healthy growth in our Japanese flights, as more and more customers experience Emirates’ award-winning service and our hub, Dubai. We are committed to the Japanese market and are confident that the demand in terms of both passengers and cargo will remain strong. At Emirates, we continue to innovate in providing a world-class service for business and leisure travel between Japan, Dubai and our global network. We look forward to continue supporting Japan’s growing inbound tourist numbers .”
Passengers on flights to and from Japan enjoy the hospitality of Emirates’ multi-national Cabin Crew, of which more than 350 are from Japan, and the award-winning ice entertainment system, with more than 2,500 channels, including Japanese content, named the World’s Best Inflight Entertainment Award at Skytrax World Airline Awards 2017 for 13 consecutive years.
Emirates passengers also benefit from a generous baggage allowance of up to 35kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50 kg in First Class. Passengers travelling in premium cabins enjoy lounge access around the world, including the dedicated Emirates Lounge at Narita, while Emirates Skywards members and their guests travelling on Emirates may enjoy lounges in Dubai International Airport on a pay-per-visit basis. Premium class passengers are provided with Emirates’ Chauffeur-drive service, available in Japan at Haneda Airport. All travel with Emirates earns passengers Skywards Miles on the airline’s popular frequent flyer programme.
*as of December 2016