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Why a Middle Eastern airline just added a new flight from Miami to South America

Courtesy of Emirates Airline

A new flight between Miami and Bogotá is boosting options for travelers to Colombia’s capital. It’s also expected to be a bridge between the Middle East’s Gulf countries and South America, with the 305 playing a central role.

Emirates, a flagship carrier of the United Arab Emirates, began the daily flight between Miami International Airport and Bogotá on June 3. Long in the works, it’s a continuation of the flight from Dubai to Miami.

The wide-body, three-class Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft has 354 seats across three cabins. Leather seats that recline flat are provided to First Class and Business Class travelers. Complimentary food and beverages and in-flight entertainment, over 6,500 programs, are offered to passengers in all cabins. There’s also free popcorn.

The plane has eight first class cabins, each with their own showers, 42 business class seats, and 304 economy seats.


Emirates says that due to Bogotá’s high altitude, it cannot operate a non-stop flight from Dubai. That’s one reason for the stop in the Magic City.

MORE: Miami airport just added flights to Latin America and a link to the Mideast. What to know

Increased options for travel

The new service increases the number of flights between Miami and Bogotá in June to 298, 18% more than June 2023, according to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company. Most of that increase is due to Emirates’ 28 new flights. The carrier will increase that number to 31 by December, when there will be 310 monthly flights between Miami and Bogotá.

Several other airlines operate that route. In June, American has 90 flights, Avianca operates 120 and LATAM has 60.

Both Emirates’ new flight and the growing competition could be welcome news for the approximately 100,000 Colombians living in Miami-Dade County, as well as the travelers and business people who go back and forth.

A big impetus for the new service was the growth Miami has experienced and new capital it has received in recent years, particularly in the tech and finance sectors, combined with more Colombian business people moving to South Florida, or frequently visiting.

That creates demand for the first-class and business-class seats that the airline depends on filling. Without doing that, or coming close, it’s hard for an airline to sustain a route. In a visit to Miami last week, Emirates executives mostly discussed the comforts of their first-class seats.

The Colombians already in South Florida helped drive the new flight as well.

The new service’s “main foundation is the fact you have a large community of people who live here [Miami], who reside here, and who travel back and forth,” said Nabil Sultan Al Murr, executive vice president at Emirates, in response to a question by the Miami Herald at a media event. “That gives it the first initial push.”

The new service comes as the United Arab Emirates is seeking to forge greater ties with Miami. One of its sovereign wealth funds, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is looking to make investments here.

For the cruise industry, Dubai is one of the fastest growing markets. Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Corp., both headquartered in the Miami area, have ships based in Dubai.

“There could be a lot of opportunity between the cruise industry here [in Miami] and establishing the cruise industry in the [Gulf Cooperation Council] market,” said Nabil Sultan Al Murr.

Emirates already has a non-stop flight from Dubai to Miami, and that regularly brings scores of tourists to start cruises in South Florida, he said. “There’s huge interest.”

Beyond the initial customer base Emirates is counting on to travel the Miami-Bogotá route, the airline also expects to grow more interest in Colombia with the flight, resulting in more people from different places visiting Miami.

“What’s important and really exciting is what other destinations we will be able to pick up passengers from and bring to Colombia,” Nabil Sultan Al Murr said.

He noted that when Emirates started its non-stop flight from Dubai to Buenos Aires, the airline discovered it was taking about 90 people per flight from Japan to Argentina.

“We believe we will definitely create and develop new leisure traffic and business travel into Colombia from different parts of the world,” he said.

Cargo is also expected to be a big growth area. Each 777-300 ER can carry about 20 tons.

Countries in the Gulf import almost all of their fruits and vegetables. Colombia is an important source of that, as well as coffee and flowers, but it will also link the UAE to the Andean region of South America. This month, a UAE minister traveled to Ecuador and met with President Daniel Noboa.

Emirates executives said they also plan to meet with farmers and local officials and encourage them to grow more or different products.

“Dubai is a huge trading hub, and we can introduce farmers to new opportunities, to new buyers, and probably give them better yield,” said Nabil Sultan Al Murr.