On the ground, chauffeur drive services were expanded to operate in about 40 destinations - including the first offline city in Lugano, Switzerland, and in Venice where an innovative adaptation saw luxury powerboats used for the airport transfers. Emirates also continued to develop its dedicated lounge product around its network, launching its latest in Brisbane that offers stunning 360 degree views and is the first in Australia capable of boarding passengers directly from lounge to the aircraft, including to the upper deck of an A380.
Skywards, Emirates’ frequent flyer program, welcomed its 3.4 millionth member over the course of the year. It also launched The Emirates High Street, an exclusive mail-order catalogue where Skywards Miles or credit card payment may be used to purchase unique items from a wide range of upmarket merchandise.
The airline’s internet and e-commerce gateway, www.emirates.com, was redesigned and launched across 76 different sites in 10 languages, offering improved online booking features and a more user-friendly experience.
Emirates SkyCargo performed well in what was a turbulent year for the air cargo industry, marking healthy revenue and tonnage carried despite high fuel prices, a U.S. slowdown from the sub-prime crisis, and bad weather affecting agricultural production in key areas. The division carried 1.4 million tons of cargo, an improvement of 10.9 percent over the previous year’s 1.3 million tons and recorded a revenue increase of 20 percent to US$ 1.8 billion, up from US$ 1.5 billion in 2006-07.
Cargo revenue contributed 19 percent to the airline’s total transport revenue, yet again one of the highest contributions of any airline in the world with a similar fleet. During the year, Emirates SkyCargo introduced freighter-only destinations to Toledo, Ohio, Djibouti, Hahn, Germany, and Zaragoza, Spain. At the end of the financial year, the freighter fleet was 10 aircraft – five leased and five owned. In all, Emirates SkyCargo carried freight in 114 aircraft, including bellyhold space in the passenger fleet, to 99 cities on six continents.
The Destination & Leisure Management division of Emirates Airline had another profitable year, reaching sales of US$ 382 million, bettering its 2006-07 performance by 22 percent. Arabian Adventures and Emirates Holidays cared for a total of 397,000 tourists, an eight percent increase. Arabian Adventures also played host to 297,000 visitors to Dubai over the year, up 13 percent from 2006-07.
Emirates Hotels & Resorts expanded from its original Al Maha property into a multi-property hotel operation with International Central Reservations, a Corporate Sales and Business Development unit, global online distribution systems and support services for the design and development of its growing resort portfolio.
The Harbour Hotel and Residence in Dubai Marina opened its doors in November 2007, quickly earning a reputation for quality and increasing occupancy to 85 percent within three months. Al Maha retained its position as one of the world’s most successful small luxury resorts, recording an average occupancy rate of 78 percent.
Operations geared up for the opening in May 2008 of Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ luxury Green Lakes Serviced Apartments; and construction began on the conservation-based Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia’s Blue Mountains, scheduled to open at the end of 2009; and Seychelles’ Cap Ternay Resort & Spa entered the detailed design phases for its late 2010 opening.
Dnata recorded strong revenue growth of 27.2 percent to US$ 718 million, compared with US$ 565 million the previous year. Profits reached US$ 83 million despite a challenging year for airport and cargo operations with ongoing construction at Dubai airport and peak traffic congestion.
As Dnata moves into its 50th year of operation in 2008, it remains at the core of Dubai’s rapid traffic growth, handling 119,510 aircraft (up nine percent), 35.6 million passengers (up 18.4 percent), and 697,265 tons of cargo (up 18.2 percent).
Total revenue also up 18 percent in the first half of the fiscal year.
Undeterred by regional uncertainty, Dubai International Airport has embarked on a US$2.5 billion expansion project that will totally reshape the airport and its ground operations. Richard Rowe...