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Emirates and the EU

Emirates began flying to the EU in 1987 and has since grown in a progressive manner, in line with demand, expanding service to both major and secondary cities across Europe. We fly more than 540 wide-body passenger flights and 50 all-cargo flights to and from the EU every week and currently fly to 20 of the 28 member states, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg (freighter only), Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Read our PDFs 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 impact of our passenger and cargo operations in the EU.

Frontier’s report reaffirms 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 grown 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.

EU exports to the UAE: 20,000–30,000 billion in 2009, around 30,000 billion in 2010, 30,000–40,000 billion in 2011, around 40,000 billion in 2012, 40,000–50,000 billion in 2013, and around 50,000 billion in 2015

Source: EUROSTAT DG Trade

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, and employment. We are one of the biggest purchasers of the Airbus A380, with more 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, more than 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 in which 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 programs including the A380, we play an active role in this process. Additionally, more than 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 more than 410,000 tons in exports from the EU in 2017. The 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, leading to valuable time being wasted 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; we were recently commended for 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 meet the environmental challenge

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

Aviation plays a vital role in stimulating economic activity; 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 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 increased passenger inconvenience?

Emirates helps support the growth potential of local and national economies through the international connectivity we provide on the basis of liberalized aviation markets. Considering that air transport demand is set to double within the next decade—something 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.