Emirates Airline has unveiled plans to grow the number
of flights across its network by 14% in 2009.
This year, the
Dubai based carrier will add 18 new passenger aircraft to its fleet,
increasing seating capacity by 14% and enabling it to start new routes
as well as increase frequencies on many existing routes. It will also
expand cargo capacity by 17%.
The additional frequencies will
afford passengers a greater choice of flights, more frequent connections
with their target markets and shorter, more convenient connection times.
Emirates currently has a fleet of 129 wide-bodied aircraft. By the
end of the 2008-09 financial year (ending 31st March 2009), that figure
will stand at 132, including four superjumbo
Airbus A380s. The carrier
will welcome a further seven A380s in fiscal year 2009-10 (ending 31st
March 2010), as well as 10 Boeing 777-300ER, one 777-200LR and one
Boeing 777 freighter.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum,
Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said, “Emirates has prepared the best we can for the challenges we foresee, but
we also see it as a time of opportunity. 2009, with our significant
capacity increase, will be a year of consolidation for us, with fewer
new routes launched than in previous years.
“Instead, we will
concentrate on strengthening our presence on routes where there is a
greater demand from our customers. All of our new capacity will be
deployed in markets where we see growth potential, particularly Africa
and the Middle East.”
Indeed, Emirates’ fastest growing markets
are Africa and the Middle East, recording 17 and 6% growth
respectively in the last 12 months. To this end, Emirates recently added
a second daily flight to Lagos.
It will also introduce services
from Dubai to Durban, South Africa on 1st October 2009. The route will
be served by a two-class, 278-seat Airbus A330-200 which can carry up to
14 tonnes of cargo into the port city.
Last month, Emirates
announced a vast Middle East expansion plan taking the number of seats
in the region to 50,000 on 180 flights a week. Additional services to
Amman, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait and Damascus were started recently.
Emirates has added 32 weekly flights to its existing Indian services
since November. The enhanced capacity means customers now have a choice
of 163 weekly flights into 10 gateways in the country.
aircraft come online, both Los Angeles and San Francisco – Emirates’
newest routes, launched in October and December – will go from thrice
weekly to daily from May. The extra services will add more than 2,000
seats a week between the US west coast and Dubai, which is more than a
100% increase on the current 1,600 seats.
There is increased
capacity to Australia with additional daily flights to Brisbane and
Melbourne, taking the total number of flights a week to 63 effective 1st
February. Later this year, a third daily service to Sydney will be
added. On 1st February, Emirates became the first carrier to operate
commercial A380 flights into New Zealand with the launch of its
Dubai-Sydney-Auckland service. Operated by a 489-seat Airbus A380 three
times a week, it will go daily from 1st May.
Plans are also afoot
to deploy super jumbos on Dubai–Seoul and Dubai–Singapore services in
November and December respectively.
The first A380 flight between
Dubai and Seoul’s Incheon International Airport will depart in November,
while the Singapore service will start in December and initially run
four times weekly.
In Europe, Emirates has already embarked on an
expansion programme. In recent months it has commenced double daily
flights into Milan, increased Istanbul services to 11 flights a week,
increased services on the Larnaca-Malta route to seven times weekly and
Nice flights to five times weekly. Second daily services into Moscow and
Athens are also planned for March.
In total, the additional
capacity will see more than 8,635 seats and around 600 tonnes of cargo
capacity added to the Emirates fleet.
“Emirates has recorded an
annual growth rate of 20% over the last five years,” said HH Sheikh
Ahmed. “In the last two years alone, we have launched 11 new passenger
and three cargo-only routes. In 2007, with the launch of its Dubai–Sao
Paulo service, we became the first – and only – carrier to fly to six
continents non-stop from a single hub.”
Established in October
1985 with flights to Karachi and Mumbai, Emirates Airline today directly
serves 101 cities in 61 countries. In October 2008, the Emirates
dedicated Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport opened. With a total
built-up area of 515,000 sq metres and the capability of handling 43
million passengers annually, the 10-storey concourse was specifically
designed with Emirates’ future growth plans in mind.
In 2008, 22
million Emirates passengers passed through Dubai International Airport –
an 11% increase on 2007.
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