Emirates Eyes 60 Million Passengers in Current Year

May 05--Airline targets 40 new destinations, over 39 per cent growth in passengers in 2014-15 and starting first A380 service to India soon.

Emirates, world's fastest growing airline, has recorded more than 9 per cent year-on-year growth in passenger numbers for financial year 2013-14 and targets 40 new destinations in near future, according to its top official.

The Dubai-based carrier carried 43 million passengers during the financial year closed on March 30, 2014, compared to 39.4 million passengers in the previous financial year.

"We are targeting 60 million passengers for the current financial year (2014-15) and 70 million [passengers] by 2020," Emirates divisional senior vice-president for Commercial Operations Shaikh Majid Al Mualla told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) news conference on Sunday.

Without giving any time frame, Al Mualla said: "We have over 40 [new] destinations on our wish list. Most probably we will cross 12 new destination mark this year." With Taipei, Kiev and Boston launched so far in 2014, Emirates is now serving 142 destinations in 80 countries.

"Later this year, we start flights to Abuja and Kano in Nigeria, Chicago and Oslo. Whenever we will see opportunity we will connect," he added.

Al Mualla mentioned that the airline will get total 27 aircraft deliveries in 2014 including super jumbo A380s. Emirates has already received four A380s so far this year. "Our fleet has reached 218 aircraft -- and although we're at A380 number 47, the magnificent flagship of the Emirates' fleet is talked about and admired as much as ever."

He revealed that Emirates will start A380 service to India soon. He declined to give the name of the destination. But said India is a big potential market for the airline where seat capacity is almost 95 per cent. Emirates operates 185 weekly flights to India, he added.

Talking about new seats allocated to Dubai airlines, he said these are 11,200 new seats allocated by the Government of India and will be shared by Emirates and flydubai. "We will get around 70 per cent share, but it's not about new destinations. There will increase in capacity and frequency that will come in three phases." Existing allocation is 54,000 seats, he informed.

Regarding 80-day runway repair at Dubai International airport, he said so far the operation is going smoothly. The airline is utilising maximum of bigger aircraft such as Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 and parked some of the smaller aircraft such as A330 and A340 at Al Maktoum International Airport, he explained.

Talking about market share, he said its 22 per cent in the Middle East, and 30 per cent on European routes.

Earlier at the ATM news conference, he said: "This year's ATM is special because it is the first since it was announced that Dubai would host Expo in 2020. It is an opportunity to celebrate the travel and tourism industry, which is so fundamentally important to Dubai."

He said: "For Emirates, ATM will be about showcasing our products and services, putting faces and personalities to the brand, meeting key partners and catching up with the many old friends we have across the industry."

"As we had into this year's ATM, we see -- more than ever -- the potential and power of the travel and tourism industry. Travel and tourism connects people with places opportunities and experiences," he added. -- abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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