Emirates To Launch Flights Between Barcelona And Mexico City

It looks like Emirates will soon be launching a cool new fifth freedom route.

For years Emirates has been wanting to add flights to Mexico City. The catch is that a nonstop flight from Mexico City to Dubai isn’t possible. This isn’t due to the distance as such (at 8,914 miles, it’s just a bit shorter than the world’s longest flight, from Doha to Auckland), but rather it’s due to the altitude of Mexico City Airport, as it’s at about 7,400 feet.

When airports are at high altitudes, airplanes have reduced takeoff performance, so they can’t carry as much weight as usual. This means they’d have to restrict passengers, fuel, and cargo, and it makes a nonstop flight from Mexico City to Dubai virtually impossible.

So for a few years Emirates has been looking at the possibility of adding one-stop service between Dubai and Mexico City using a fifth freedom flight (where they’d have the right to carry passengers between Mexico and a third country). About two years ago I wrote about how Emirates was petitioning the Swiss Civil Aviation Authority to allow them to start flights between Zurich and Mexico City. Clearly nothing came of that, since the route hasn’t launched.

Several media sources, including Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, are reporting that Emirates will be launching daily flights between Barcelona and Mexico City as of some point this year. Emirates currently flights twice daily between Dubai and Barcelona, so they’ll also be adding a third daily flight between those two cities, with that plane continuing to Mexico City. This will be a fifth freedom route, so Emirates can carry passengers exclusively between Mexico and Spain.

This is according to a meeting that was held in Dubai between an Emirates vice president and a Spanish government official.

While the start date and aircraft type haven’t been announced, they say that the capacity should exceed 95,000 seats in each direction annually. That doesn’t really narrow things down, as that translates to 265 seats per day per direction. Virtually all of Emirates’ planes have a higher capacity than that, though my guess is that they’ll initially be using a 777 for the route (the 777-200LR currently has a capacity of 266 seats, though is being reconfigured with 302 seats).


Emirates 777-200LR, which could be used for the route

The flight from Dubai to Barcelona will cover a distance of roughly 3,200 miles, while the flight from Barcelona to Mexico City will cover a distance of roughly 5,900 miles. That’s an easy enough route to operate, even taking into account Mexico City’s high altitude.

This seems like it could be a really great route for Emirates. Surprisingly there’s not currently a year-round flight between Mexico City and Barcelona, while there are up to four daily flights between Mexico City and Madrid.

I can’t wait for this flight to go on sale, as it will be a great new option for those traveling between Mexico City and Europe (and beyond!). I’ll be sure to report back when the route is official, with the start date, flight schedule, and aircraft type.

What do you make of Emirates’ new route between Barcelona and Mexico City?

Comments

  1. @Lucky — actually up to 6 daily MAD-MEX flights…see June 18th, when three Aeromexico and three Iberia flights are operating

  2. hi everyone, I’d like to hear your opinion! What’s the best way to save money on hotels and flight for a European person? Our credit cards earn max. 1point / € with a few airline and there is almost no card with any hotel chain.

    So I either get value out of the hotels’ loyalty program to get free nights sometimes or I use one of the hotel comparison sites to get the cheapest rate with a good hotel and I enroll to the comparison site’s own loyalty program which will get me back anywhere between 3% to 10%.

    Should I stick to one airline or one airline alliance considering the lack of co-branded cards or I should book the cheapest flights with a comparison site?

    Which way can get the most value out of my money?

  3. I always thought CUN would be first, something like DXB-CUN-MEX. They can fly an A380 on some weekdays, AF flies CDG-MEX-CDG daily, with an A380 3 times week. I would book this flight in a heartbeat, connecting to the rest of Europe via BCN is a non-brainer and probably cheaper than CDG or LHR.

  4. @Neu

    Clearly you’re Neu here. See what I did there? 🙂

    You may want to post those questions on FT as you’ll likely get more eyeballs there.

  5. WOW this is great news! Barcelona and Mexico City is one city pair where there is demand but no offer.

  6. I’m interested to see how/if this will affect Alaska redemption rates on EK. For us Left Coasters, especially those of us that can fly out of Tijuana, the quick positioning hop to MEX would be worth it for EK F (and *maybe* J) to Europe without having to connect (especially through LHR with their exorbitant fees) or fly Iberia. BCN is becoming a second home so this would be amazing, and a day or two in CDMX is always fun.

  7. Alaska should offer connections in award travel from west coast. they used to do so with klm/airfrance

  8. @George, Mexico City does not have beautiful men, lol. Not even close. Bunch of short pudgy taco eaters. Some of the women are incredible though.

  9. Emirates’ expansion and launch of new routes might seem unprofitable on the surface, but they seem to be tapping into markets where there is often no year-round service (Athens to New York for example). Emirates’ reputation is such and their prices are low that passengers often will choose them first. Everyone thought that the ATH-EWR route wouldn’t last, but it just celebrated 1 year of service (and it shows no signs of stopping)

  10. Cool! If there is ever an electronics ban on ME3 again, and I need to get to the US during such ban, rather than being lightly and indirectly pressured by our government to give my money to a US3 carrier for a lower fare and even lower quality of service, I can simply fly to Mexico City and connect to my US destinations from there.

  11. In my opinion the middle east carriers should be doing a lot more of this. Barcelona and for that matter Berlin (Lufthansa just cancelled the only direct US flight from that city) are often treated miserly by the “national” airline. Why not select airports/countries with favorable conditions and build mini 5th freedom routes.

    Competition is good!

  12. 10 years ago Aeromexico used to have a direct fly from MEX-BCN-MEX and was operated with a 767. I took that flight once and the plane was half filled.

    I’m not so sure but I remember that Iberia used to have a BCN-MAD-MEX-MAD-BCN flight more than a decade ago.

  13. This is great!
    I’m pretty sure the demand for Mex to Bcn is there plentily.
    Now please get rid of the visa requirement for Mexican nationals wanting to travel on to Dubai and that will be the cherry on the icing.. from a Mex point of view.
    Congrats Emirates!

  14. May this turn into reality. Timing sounds about right while new MEX airport is in construction. Tons of routing possibilities will open up once current airport saturation gets solved with new one. Cheers, from a handsome Mexican man (wink wink).

  15. I am a Emirates Frequent Flyer. I am looking forward to take this route in order to travell to KTM this year with my son. Hope my dream come true.

  16. Right now no especially from India reaching Mexico either by Europe or USA and need transit visas.Emirates flight can take Indians with an excellent transit from Dubai and can reach faster to Mexico City from any Indian airports.

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