Houston debuts nonstop service to Dubai A water cannon salute greeted Emirates, the newest international air carrier to land at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Emirates' new service now links the two largest energy capitals of the world by providing nonstop service from Houston to Dubai. "What happened today is a big deal," said Richard Vacar, director of the Houston Airport System. The arrival of Emirates is significant in that it signals the development of IAH into an international hub. The new long-range aircraft of Boeing and Airbus can now provide nonstop service to any point on the globe. "The problem for Houston has been that airlines have not had the aircraft to fly here nonstop. The new long-range Boeing 777 opens Eastern Europe, India and even Australia," said Vacar. Emirates chairman and chief executive, His Highness Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said, "Emirates has looked forward to bringing business and tourism traffic to Houston. We are confident that the new service will prove to be very popular and we look forward to serving the region with our growing fleet." Emirates' new Boeing 777-200LR has eight, luxurious first-class suites featuring the latest ICE (information, communications and entertainment) system, enabling passengers to send and receive e-mail and text messages and enjoy 1,000 channels of entertainment on demand. The suites also have seats that convert to flat beds complete with down pillows, cotton-lined blankets, duvets, sleeping suites and slippers. Multi-course meals can be ordered at will from an extensive menu as well as a full range of brand liquors and wines. Business class features 42 lie-flat seats with privacy dividers and 19-inch entertainment screens. Down pillows, woolen blankets, slipperettes and an exclusive amenity kit are among the special features offered. Multi-course meals are provided on Royal Doulton bone china along with a full complement of liquors and a route-specific wine list. Economy-class passengers are treated to specially designed and contoured seats with an adjustable footrest, headrest, lumbar support and warm blankets and pillows. The entertainment system offers 600 channels of new movie releases, classic movies, children's films, music and 40 interactive games at each seat. Five-course meals and a complimentary selection of wines, liquors, beer and soft drinks are served throughout the flight. At present, the new Emirates service will operate three times a week, increasing to daily in February 2008. The announcement of Emirates intention of coming to Houston has also interested other Middle East airlines. "Qatar Airways is clearly on the radar screen," said Vacar. "We are also talking to Etihad and Air India, but they do not have the aircraft yet. Everyone is interested in Houston because we are not congested and we have fewer delays." Emirates has maintained a sales office in Houston for more than 14 years. Recently, Emirates initiated a marketing blitz with travel agents to sell the airline and Dubai as a tourist destination. For additional information, visit www.emirates.com/usa. Photos by Bonie Mckenna

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