Runway Success

Emirates Airline is at the heart of Dubai’s increasing connectivity with the world. Vision talks to Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, about joining the global dots

Q: What is so unique about Dubai 
and Emirates Airline?

A: Emirates is lucky enough to be strategically located within the UAE, the centre between East and West. Over a third of the world’s population lies within only a few hours’ flying time from Dubai. It is advantageous that our passengers can fly to anywhere on our global network with only one stop in Dubai.

‘Over a third of the world’s population lies within only a few hours’ flying time from Dubai’

We have always had our eyes wide open to the way the world is changing. Many of our competitors have missed out on opportunities, as they were too slow to react. Take Africa, for example, a huge, prosperous continent that many carriers were reluctant to capitalise on for various social reasons. We went in, have been successful and now they are all following suit.

Q: What’s the longest possible journey connecting through Dubai?

A: The longest possible journey in kilometres for an Emirates passenger connecting through Dubai is Los Angeles to Sydney. The total distance travelled on this route is around 24,000 kilometres. Examples of extra long-haul routes that are popular and frequently booked by Emirates travellers are Sao Paulo to Tokyo, or Australia to London.

Q: What routes are you planning to add in the next six months?

A: We have five new destinations launching in the next six months. These include St Petersburg that launches on 1 November, Baghdad on 13 November, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, both on 3 January and Dublin on 9 January.

In addition to these new destinations Emirates is also rapidly expanding our A380 network with four new A380 destinations to set to launch including; Johannesburg on 1 October, Kuala Lumpur and Rome on 1 December, and Munich from 1 January.

Q: How do you decide where to introduce new routes?

A: Emirates always undertakes a lengthy analysis of market demand before entering a new destination. It is important that existing demand for the route exists to ensure maximum profitability on day one of our operations to that market. We will not consider a route unless we think it will be profitable.

We have a ten-year rolling plan for our destination network based on our upcoming aircraft deliveries. Our success is driven by having a carefully managed, focused business, which is attuned to what is happening in the global air transport field, and making it profitable.

Q: Have you noted a shift in where passengers are flying these days? Do you see the world’s centre of gravity changing?

A: Since the global financial crisis there has been a marked shift in business travel movements from West to East. We have witnessed incredible growth throughout Asia, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, and we continue to capitalise on this with additional frequencies and upgraded capacity.

Q: Last year, you placed a huge order for 777s, then you placed the biggest ever order for A380s. Afterwards you were quoted as saying that you still hadn’t ordered enough to meet the rising demand. A year on, is this still true?

A: Absolutely. We have a specific mapped out plan for each of our 195 aircraft on order. We have an aggressive growth plan in place and in order to facilitate this we require more aircraft. Larger capacity aircraft such as the A380 are central to helping us meet growing passenger demand on major trunk routes from our Dubai hub, including services to the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the UK.

Q: You clearly feel that, together, Dubai and Emirates Airline will play an increasing role in world connectivity.

A: Emirates has grown in size alongside Dubai and the future looks bright for continued growth for both parties. Dubai is a pulsating and growing economy and our mutual determination to succeed and innovate will continue to drive growth within Dubai as well as for Emirates. Dubai’s geographical location at the centre of the new Silk Road between East and West has been vital to our success, and we continue to drive our growth based on the premise that our passengers can connect to anywhere on the globe with just one stop in Dubai. We have always actively promoted Dubai alongside Emirates – and Emirates alongside Dubai. We will continue to work with valued partners, such as DTCM [Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing] and Dubai’s hotels, to further raise the profile of the city as a world-leading destination and an increasingly significant international aviation hub.