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More Aussies Stopping Over in Dubai, Emirates Says

The pact between Emirates Airline and Qantas has been marred by negative news flow from Down Under of job cuts, losses and a brutal price war between the Aussie carrier and Virgin Australia.

But one party is benefiting from an influx of Aussies: the city of Dubai. The Gulf state has become a popular stopover en route to Europe and the U.S., boosting Dubai’s malls and hotels. About 360,000 Australians disembarked from Emirates planes last year in Dubai, significantly higher than before the deal between Emirates and Qantas, according to Emirates President Tim Clark.

“We didn’t have [that] before,” explained Mr. Clark. “The Australian business into Dubai and the hospitality segments…they have been very strong for us.” Emirates has direct flights to five destinations in Australia and two in New Zealand.

Australasia was the fastest-expanding market for Dubai International in the first quarter, up 21.9% on the previous year, as a direct result of the partnership between Qantas and Emirates, according to government-owned Dubai Airports. Both North America and Asia, two markets where Emirates has expanded routes recently were pipped by Australasia.

But Emirates will be looking over its shoulder as Etihad Airways will significantly increase its capacity to airports in Australia, where it already flies to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The Abu Dhabi carrier will launch daily flights to Perth in July using an Airbus Group NV A330-200 aircraft with 262 seats and will also add a super-jumbo Airbus A380 jet to both Sydney and Melbourne routes next year.

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(via WSJ Blogs)