Emirates have been busy at the start of the New Year by adding three new destinations to its network. On 3 January, the airline launched a new service from its Dubai (DXB) hub to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) – a distance of almost 11,900 kilometres – before continuing to Buenos Aires (EZE). Rio is Emirates’ second destination in Brazil after São Paulo. The new flights operate daily with 354-seat 777-300ERs. Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ EVP Passenger Sales Worldwide, commented: “Emirates will offer customers in Brazil and Argentina the most efficient and comfortable route to the Middle and Far East, including the airline’s four destinations in China and two gateways in Japan, which are key trading partners for both countries.” This makes Emirates the second ‘MEB3’ airline to serve Argentina after Qatar Airways’ Doha-Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires route. On 9 January, Emirates became the second ‘MEB3’ carrier to serve the Irish capital Dublin (DUB) after Etihad. Emirates’ daily flights are operated with A330-200 aircraft. Dublin Airport Authority’s CEO Declan Collier said: “Emirates’ decision to enter the Irish market shows the continued demand for long-haul services into and out of Ireland. Connectivity is essential for business and for tourism and this new service to Dubai, and the onward connections that it will provide will be very beneficial for the Irish economy.” In an interview with the Irish Independent, Emirates’ VP UK and Ireland, Laurie Berryman, revealed that the airline expects 55% of passengers on the new route to originate on the island of Ireland, and that 65-75% of these passengers will transfer in Dubai to Emirates’ onward destinations in the Far East and Australasia. Around 5,000 Irish nationals live in the UAE and approximately 80,000 in Australia, which is a key market.