RUMOR: Emirates To Fly To Mexico City Via Barcelona

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A number of Spanish news sources have reported that Emirates has reached agreement with Spanish and Mexican authorities to launch a 5th freedom flight between Barcelona and Mexico City. The Middle Eastern carrier has been looking for a way to start up service to Mexico’s capital for a number of years and now, finally, appears to have found a way.

If you’ve ever visited Mexico City (or if you’re a fan of the Olympics) you’ll know that it sits at considerable altitude (approx. 7,382 ft above sea level) and, ironically, altitude isn’t a good thing for aircraft….at least not when it comes to taking off and landing.

Here’s a quick bit of Physics: Air is less dense at altitude and this reduces lift upon take off. With reduced lift aircraft can’t carry the same amount of fuel or the same number of passengers as they would if they were taking off from sea-level (they would be too heavy to get off the ground). This makes flying an ultra long-haul route like Dubai to Mexico City almost impossible (at least from an economic standpoint).

That’s where Barcelona fits into Emirates’ equation.

Emirates already flys twice daily between Dubai and Barcelona and reports are suggesting that the airline will add a third daily flight which will then continue on to Mexico City.

a screenshot of a social media post

Furthermore, with Emirates reported as wanting to start up this route “as soon as possible” there’s every chance we’ll see the airline service Mexico City before the end of 2018.

There has been no comment from that airline so far so official details are sketchy at best at this point but I think its safe to assume that the route will be served by an Emirates 777 aircraft – probably of the newly refurbished LR variety

an airplane taking off from a runwayEmirates 777-200LR – Image BriYYZ via Flickr

The Long Range 777 aircraft will offer 302 seats after they have been refurbished which, assuming a daily service, would offer a little over 110,000 seats per year in either direction on the new route.

That’s more than the 95,000 seats being mentioned in most media outlets but, as no other Emirates aircraft has a seat capacity low enough to come any closer to the 95,000 number being quoted, that’s the most likely aircraft to be employed.

From a personal point of view I’m most interested to see how many miles Emirates will charge for a roundtrip Business Class fare between Barcelona and Mexico City. The airline’s other 5th Freedom flight across the Atlantic (Milan – New York) is already a sweet spot in the Skywards program but, with the Barcelona – Mexico City flight being considerably longer, I don’t think we can expect more of the same.