Emirates airline adds first non-Dubai flight route

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Emirates is breaking out of Dubai, in what could be a curious experiment, flying daily from New York's JFK International to Milan starting on October 1, Bloomberg Businessweek said online on Friday.

Businessweek said Milan will be one of the very few routes in the airline’s vast network that doesn’t touch its Dubai hub.

The JFK-Milan route is currently served with nonstop flights by Alitalia, Delta, and American, while United flies directly from nearby Newark.

Emirates, which is touting the only first-class service on the route—its rivals offer only business class as the top level—as well as connections to the rest of Italy through a soon-to-be announced partnership with EasyJet.

Emirates already has three daily flights to Dubai from Milan and flies to 134 cities in 76 countries, said Businessweek.online.

Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ chief commercial officer, did not say specifically why the airline find Milan to be attractive, it said.

“We see a good DNA in the cities of Milan, New York, and Emirates,” he was quoted as saying in an interview, "and we have a very good product to offer."

The two cities are both banking and fashion centers, and pitting Emirates’s high-end cabins against the US airlines and Alitalia may have offered a more significant contrast than vying against Air France, British Airways, or Lufthansa on other European routes.

The airline now flies to seven US cities and sees room to expand to 15 in the future, Businessweek said.