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Emirates and the EU

Emirates and the EU

Emirates began flying to the EU in 1987 and has grown in a progressive manner, in line with demand, to both major and secondary cities across Europe. We fly to 18 of the 27 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

Read our PDF’s for more details on Emirates’ operations and footprint in individual EU Member States:

Europe (non-EU)


Emirates supports EU growth and jobs

In 2015 Emirates commissioned a report from leading global research firm Frontier Economics to quantify the economic and jobs impact of our passenger and cargo operations in the EU.

Frontier’s report re-affirms that Emirates plays an important role in supporting EU jobs, growth and economic development.

Read the executive summary, the full report and the press release here:

Emirates has put together infographics and a video to showcase some of the key highlights of the Frontier Economics Report, view them below:


A growing economic interdependence

The trade relationship between the EU and the UAE has been growing rapidly over the past ten years. In 2017, the UAE was the EU’s largest export market in the Middle East and the 9th largest export market globally, ahead of countries such as Brazil, Canada and India. Its EUR 32.57 billion trade surplus with the UAE was the EU’s third largest globally.

Emirates and the EU are major contributors to each other’s strengths. In particular, flights to regional cities as well as major hubs in the EU have created new commercial opportunities for EU exporters and for inbound tourism.

Our long-standing relationship with European aerospace suppliers provides a major stimulus to EU business growth, research and development as well as employment. We are one of the biggest purchasers of the Airbus A380 with over 100 aircraft in service and 61 on order (including 16 options). Emirates’ A380 deliveries supported 41,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the UK, France, Germany and Spain and had a GDP impact of EUR 3.4 billion in 2013 alone, according to Airbus/Frontier Economics figures. In addition, over 11,400 EU nationals are employed by the Emirates Group in Dubai and across the Group’s global network. These wider positive impacts are important factors in the ongoing debate where some argue for unwarranted protection for national flag carriers or claim airline competition is bad for Europe.

The EU’s progress as a dynamic knowledge-based economy requires continued investment in European businesses and the stimulation of research and development. Through our relationship with major European innovators such as Airbus and support of flagship technology programmes including the A380, we play an active role in this process. Additionally, over EUR 4.3 billion is injected into the EU economy each year through Emirates’ purchases of EU goods and services.

Beyond passenger transport, Emirates’ SkyCargo division also plays a key role in facilitating Europe’s trade with the wider world. Total EU exports to the UAE were EUR 42.6 billion in 2017, up 29% from 2008. In terms of cargo shipped, SkyCargo transported over 410,000 tonnes in exports from the EU in 2017. The type of goods shipped included German machine parts and biotech products, British pharmaceuticals, French wine and foodstuffs, Italian textiles and Austrian electronics.


A shared consumer focus

In 2017, we transported 15.5 million passengers to and from the EU, an increase of 5% over 2016. We are deeply committed to providing an attractive value proposition and a choice of departure points beyond the main EU capital cities. For example, before we entered the market, there were no direct long-haul intercontinental options for passengers in cities such as Newcastle, Hamburg, Nice and Venice, hence valuable time was wasted by transiting through congested capital city hubs.

On an individual consumer level, we support the efforts of Europe’s policymakers to clarify consumer protection interests in air transport, and we were recently commended regarding consumer transparency in our online reservation practices and inclusive pricing.

"I commend Emirates airline as a non-EU carrier for the observance of Community law and for the commitment to maintain these standards and to consumer protection in general..."
– Meglena Kuneva, former European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs

We will continue to focus on consumer transparency, in line with the EU’s strong policy objectives in this field.


A commitment to meeting the environmental challenge

We recognise the importance of meeting the environmental challenges faced by both policymakers and airlines across the globe. In the air and on the ground, we act responsibly in the interests of our customers, our business and the natural environment.

From an EU environmental policy perspective, we have complied with all aspects of Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) for aviation. We strongly support the proposals of ICAO and IATA for a global, sectoral approach to reducing aviation emissions and fully support IATA’s four-pillar strategy to reduce global aviation emissions: improved technology, effective operations, efficient infrastructure and positive economic measures.

To succeed in this area of environmental policy, we are spending billions of dollars on the most modern, low-noise, low-emission aircraft and working with national governments to make air navigation more efficient on our routes. Our investments in aircraft such as the A380 are key to this strategy: as well as being fuel efficient, the A380 is one of the quietest large aircraft ever produced, and with its large passenger capacity, it is ideal for busy airports that are constrained by slot availability and noise restrictions.


Open Skies for a stronger Europe

Emirates is transparent, commercially run and abides by the rules in the jurisdictions in which we operate. We compete directly with over 100 international airlines at our main operating base, Dubai International Airport, which is subject to the Open Skies policy of the Dubai Government, effectively in force since 1937. With a presence dating back to 1987, Emirates intrinsically forms part of Europe’s aviation system and connects Europe with an increasing number of destinations worldwide which for example EU legacy carriers have chosen not to serve, and which would otherwise not be accessible.

Aviation plays a vital role in stimulating economic activity and the key engine of this stimulus is growth. Growth enables strengthening and improving the international place of business function and network quality of airports. This in turn means more choice to consumers and businesses in Europe and beyond.

Opening markets with main trading partners is also an urgent necessity if the EU is to bridge its connectivity gap with the rest of the world. Some European legacy carriers disagree with this. But why should valuable direct international air links, which are so important for business and tourism, be limited to a few European airlines and a few European hubs with higher ticket prices, added travel times and passenger inconvenience?

Emirates helps support the growth potential of local and national economies through the international connectivity we provide on the basis of liberalised aviation markets. Considering air transport demand is set to double within the next decade – something which Europe will benefit immensely from – connectivity and consumer choice should be the driving forces when the EU establishes new rules and policies governing air transport.