Academics and business leaders in Boston will have another nonstop route to the Middle East when Emirates starts flying between Boston and Dubai in March.
The airline will offer daily flights from Logan International Airport to Dubai International Airport on a 266-seat Boeing 777-200LR. Tickets for the 12- to 13½-hour flight went on sale Thursday, and they are not cheap: $2,400 round trip in March, twice the price of connecting through New York or Washington, D.C.
Dubai is the second nonstop destination from Logan to the Middle East announced this summer. Turkish Airlines plans to launch a Boston-Istanbul flight in May.
Both cities are important gateways, said Thomas Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, noting that Emirates has dozens of connections from Dubai to India, Southeast Asia, and East Africa, as well as the Middle East. Last year, more than 331,000 passengers traveled to those markets out of Boston.
The most popular destinations served by Emirates among Boston travelers are Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad in India; Ho Chi Minh City; Bangkok; Singapore; Nairobi; and Dubai.
Massport has announced a number of international flights in the past year and a half, including nonstop flights to Tokyo, Panama City, and Istanbul. Dubai will be the airport’s 35th international destination. Adding new overseas routes will continue as a focus for Logan.
El Al Israel Airlines is expected to soon launch nonstop service to Tel Aviv, and a route to China is in the works.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick said the service would expand Boston’s global presence and open up new economic opportunities.
“This and similar service expansions is how we bolster the Commonwealth’s competitiveness,’’ Patrick said in a statement.
Patrick, a former United Airlines board member, has played a more active role in attracting new carriers than other governors, Glynn said, which has helped boost Logan’s reputation among international airlines. And his “celebrity status” as a friend of President Obama doesn’t hurt either, he said.
The Boston flight will be Emirates’ eighth US destination. The airline, owned by the government of Dubai, flies to 134 destinations in more than 60 countries, including 10 routes to India.
“Our Boston service will further develop this exciting gateway into the northeastern United States,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group, said in a statement. “Based on passenger demand, we believe the time is right to further boost our US operations.”
Emirates has an agreement with JetBlue Airways, Logan’s largest carrier, that lets passengers earn frequent flier miles on each other’s flights.
Adding another international competitor will benefit Boston passengers, analysts said, with the Dubai hub offering travelers an extensive new network to choose from.
“Now you’re looking at competition to Australia, you’re looking at competition to Singapore and all the Asian destinations,” said Jon Bryan, a management professor at Bridgewater State University and former US Airways pilot who has started several regional airlines.
Bryan noted that it is quality competition; Skytrax, an airline consultancy in the United Kingdom, named it the world’s best airline this year.
Airlines have been rapidly expanding routes as they recover from the last recession, ordering a significant number of new planes as they seek new and more profitable international destinations for them, Bryan said. That’s fine when the economy is growing, Bryan said, but if there is another downturn, some of these new routes would probably be cut.
Logan would not be in imminent danger however: “Boston is a vibrant hub,” he said, “and it certainly would not be the first of those to take place.”