07/02/2014 13:53 AST

Emirates has launched the first regular A380 service to Spain with daily A380 flights to Barcelona replacing the Boeing 777 previously operated on the route, adding over 2,200 seats per week between Dubai and Barcelona.

Barcelona joins 25 other cities around the world to be served by an Emirates A380.

Travelling on the commemorative flight from Dubai was Thierry Aucoc, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Europe and the Russian Federation. The aircraft was welcomed by key officials, including Sonia Corrochano, Director of Barcelona – El Prat Airport and Richard Font, Generalitat, Routes Committee President. After a welcome reception, VIPs, Barcelona Airport executives, civil aviation authority officials and media enjoyed a guided static tour of the double-decker aircraft. The tour gave the guests a chance to see first-hand the innovations provided for passengers on-board.

"Barcelona, ‘the business corridor of the Mediterranean’, has a vibrant economy. It is attracting foreign investment across sectors, and it is building on its position as an international congress centre and multifaceted tourism destination. Accordingly, we have seen growing demand for air transport to and from this city, and our A380 service is a direct response to that demand. We are proud to bring our flagship A380 aircraft to Spain, and to provide our customers with options to continue their A380 experience with just one stop in Dubai, to a range of global destinations including popular Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Bangkok," said Thierry Aucoc.

Sonia Corrochano said, "A daily A380 service in itself is testimony to the potential and appeal of the city, and of the airport in its own right. The commitment shown by Emirates underlines again that we are a competitive airport that is prepared to fulfil the requirements of the airlines serving our destination and adapt to their needs, and also that we are able to improve day by day in offering even better services of ever-higher quality."

Barcelona El Prat Airport set a new record in 2013 with over 35 million passengers passing through its facilities. Over 50,000 of those passengers travelled to the UAE, according to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce’s Air Route Committee.

"Having welcomed 100 million visitors within the last 20 years, Barcelona is now in a position to further grow as a global tourism destination. The arrival of the Emirates A380 is a significant development for the city and for the Catalonia region that will help support our goals for further growth," said Pere Duran, Director General Turisme de Barcelona (Barcelona Tourist Board).

The city welcomed almost more than five million visitors between January and September of last year, with more than 500,000 visitors attending the over 800 international congresses, further benchmarking Barcelona’s attractiveness as a business tourism destination. Barcelona has become the top city in the world by number of delegates, and third ranked for number of international congresses held in the city, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).


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