In the early 2000s, the global economy was growing and becoming more tightly-integrated. Microsoft and Boeing were on top of their game, and Seattle had just played host to the World Trade Organization (and its critics). Emirates, an up and coming international airline based in Dubai, planned to establish a major route network connecting Seattle to the heart of the Middle East.
Then came the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism. Emirates shelved the plan, according to Bloomberg News.
But starting today, Emirates is back offering daily flights direct from Seattle to the Middle East’s main travel hub. Step on a Boeing 777 at Sea-Tac and in 15 hours you’ll step off in the Dubai, a futuristic city rising up out of the desert. Among the attractions: the world’s tallest building, skiing in the snow (indoors), and the opportunity to wonder how these marvels of modern technology and industry are possible.
But even better, the new route will shorten travel times and costs to destinations all over Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Rather than having to fly to another US city like LA or New York to reach most of these destinations, now it’s straight to Dubai and then on from there.
Seattle joins New York, Dallas, Houston, LA and San Francisco as the only cities with direct flights, a testament to our strong international connections and well traveled population.
“Emirates is providing a timely economic boost to the United States” by connecting the cities, says the airline’s chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum in a press release. The airline says the new service will “help support key exports from Washington State” to markets overseas.
Last year Emirates ordered 30 new Boeing 777s, making its fleet of the planes the largest in the world.
Based on a few quick searches on emirates.com, it looks like your average round-trip to Dubai will cost a grand or even a bit less. Fares to most onward destinations, from Beirut to Johannesburg, range from $1100 to $1500. We’re in the midst of a recession and it may be over a decade late, but that doesn’t seem like a bad deal.