Emirates has rounded off a series of European route launches by starting flights to Madrid .

EK 141 took off for the airline’s 104th destination, creating the only non-stop, scheduled passenger link between Dubai and Spain, home of the FIFA World Cup winners.

Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation, said: “Madrid is our third new European route this year, and together they bring an extra 42 flights per week in and out of the region. The interest in previous years in us starting a service to Spain has certainly been reflected in the strong forward bookings. Now is our chance to bring the superb Emirates’ product to the Spanish market.”

Amsterdam was Emirates’ first new route into Europe in 2010, launching on 1st May. Prague followed on 1st July. Elsewhere, the airline opened a new link to Tokyo in March and flights to Dakar in Senegal begin on 1st September.

EK141 departs Dubai daily at 0750hrs and arrives in Madrid at 1345hrs. EK 142 leaves the Spanish capital at 1525hrs and gets into Dubai at 0030hrs the following day.

An Airbus A330-200 is being deployed on the route, offering 12 seats in First Class, 42 in Business and 183 in Economy.

Celebrating the new Madrid service, Emirates has partnered with Atlantis, The Palm’s award-winning restaurant Ossiano, established by renowned three-star Michelin chef, Santi Santamaria.

An icon of the culinary world, Chef Santi’s epicurean delights can be enjoyed by First and Business class passengers travelling between Dubai and Madrid over a three-course offering.

On the cargo side, Emirates SkyCargo has been operating Boeing 747 freighter flights to Spain since 2006. Each year, SkyCargo transports, on average, more than 7000 tonnes of fashion garments from Zaragoza to Dubai.

Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, said: “The Madrid flight is a tremendous opportunity for us to build on the success of a firmly established trade route and further strengthen the economic ties between Spain and the UAE.”

Mr Menen continued: “Dubai has built a strong reputation as the shopping capital of the Middle East, creating a huge demand for top Spanish clothing labels which continues to grow. In addition – going into Spain – there is great potential to increase the volumes of textiles and consumer goods, such as furniture and electrical products, as well as perishables like fish.”

It has been a busy summer for the airline. Aside from FIFA and the new destination launches, Emirates also ordered 32 more A380s at the Berlin Air Show in June. Last month at the Farnborough Air Show, Engine Alliance GP7200 engines were ordered to power the additional super-jumbos and there was a new order for 30 more Boeing 777-300ERs. The total value of these orders comes to AED 127 billion (USD 34.5).

Emirates currently operates with a fleet of 149 aircraft including 11 A380s.