Dubai-based airline Emirates says its route between Dublin and the Middle Eastern city has already been generating operating profits at peak periods and flew at nearly full capacity between October and December.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Emirates country manager Margaret Shannon said that it would still take another year or so before a clearer picture of profitability emerges.
She said that the airline – which inaugurated the service last year, its first from Ireland – has been "pleased and surprised" at the success of the route.
Emirates – which is holding a fresh recruitment drive here this month and next – has carried over 220,000 passengers on the Dublin- Dubai route in the past year. It has carried more than 10,000 tonnes of cargo between the cities. Emirates operates a daily service to Dubai and could increase that to a double-daily service sometime in the next year or so.
Ms Shannon said that, in the last two months, the load factor – or the percentage of seats sold – on the service was over 90pc. Emirates offers a three-class service from Dublin, including first, business and economy. She said that while it can be difficult to initially induce passengers to pay for a first class seat in austere times, "once we get any passenger in first class once, we have them".
Emirates launched the service with an Airbus A330 but in May introduced a bigger capacity Boeing 777 on the route.