Emirates launched a new flight targeted at a small city in New Jersey that most Americans have never heard of — and it's a brilliant strategy

BoeingAn Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Emirates launched its first non-stop flight between Dubai and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
  • The route is targeted at New Jersey’s large Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi population.
  • According to Emirates, traffic flow into and out of the Indian subcontinent account for 1/3 of the airline’s entire US business.

Over the past three decades, Emirates built quite a business for itself connecting the world through its home base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For its US business, that means customers flying into and out of the Indian subcontinent.

“The US to Indian Subcontinent market is indeed our biggest traffic flow and we concentrate heavily on that,” Matthias Schmid, Emirates’ senior vice president for North America, told Business Insider in an interview.

According to Schmid, the region accounts for roughly 1/3 of the airline’s entire US business.

Hence the Emirates’ decision this June to shift one of its four daily flights operating out of JFK International Airport in New York across the Hudson River to Newark, New Jersey.

Emirates Flight EK224 departs Newark Liberty International Airport every morning at 11:50 am.

From Dubai, passengers can connect to the 15 cities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh served by Emirates.

The new daily non-stop flight between Newark Liberty International Airport and Dubai joins the airline’s existing service to the Northern New Jersey airport which includes a stopover in Athens, Greece.

Unfortunately, even with the presence of its partner JetBlue, Emirates’ Newark passengers will have limited opportunities to connect to other destinations in the US, Schmid said. As a result, the flight’s success or failure will have to depend on the local market.

Fortunately, New Jersey doesn’t have a shortage of people that need to fly into and out of India and its neighbouring countries. According to the 2010 census, New Jersey’s Indian population grew 72.7% between 2000 and 2010. As a result, 40% of all New Jersey’s entire Asian population come from India. The state also boasts large populations from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Emirates is well aware of this.

“The region around Edison, New Jersey has the highest concentration of individuals originating from the Indian subcontinent in the US,” Schmid said.

Emirates also believes its rivals have grossly underserved the market.

“You have two carriers that operate directly into India, but that’s really pretty much it,” Schmid said. As a result, Emirates expects to be able to cultivate new business from its New Jersey flights without cannibalising the company’s existing JFK traffic.

However, it should be noted that the other two airlines, United and Air India, fly non-stop from Newark to cities in India while Emirates requires a stopover in Dubai.

Since Newark Liberty does not have the capability to handle the Airbus A380 Superjumbo, the new flight is operated using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

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