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Emirates President Now Says it Could Take Four Years for the Airline to Recover from COVID-19

Emirates President Now Says it Could Take Four Years for the Airline to Recover from COVID-19

During a discussion at a travel industry event which is being held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the soon-to-retire president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark said it could now take up to four years for the Dubai-based airline to fully recover from the Corona crisis. The airline previously suggested it would take 18 months before travel demand returns to a “semblance of normality”.

Sir Tim has effectively written off the remainder of 2020 telling the virtual audience that the “next six to nine months will be tough for the airline industry.” A quick recovery may now only happen if a vaccine for the novel Coronavirus is found suggested the respected aviation executive.

Photo Credit: Dubai International Airport

“I think probably by the year 2022-23, 2023-24 we will see things coming back to some degree of normality and Emirates will be operating its network as it was – and hopefully as successful as it was,” Sir Tim continued.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Sir Tim predicted the airline would be utilizing its entire fleet of 115 Airbus A380 superjumbos come 2022 in an interview with the Telegraph. He dismissed claims the airline was drawing up plans to permanently decommission up to 40 per cent of its A380 fleet and instead insisted “there will be a place for it (the A380) and I think it is going to be extremely popular.”

That statement contradicted an earlier interview he gave with Gulf newspaper The National in which he declared that the A380 “is over”.

As authorities in Dubai and across the UAE draw up plans to restart international tourism, Sir Tim claimed that borders might be opened by next month allowing the first tourists to return to the country.

If a vaccine is developed, however, Sir Tim envisions a “large uptick” in travel demand and claims Emirates would be able to ready its fleet within 48-hours to meet any surge in recovery. In the long term, he believes corporate travel will recover to pre-Corona levels.

In the last few weeks, Emirates has introduced a slew of safety measures including full-PPE for cabin crew and the mandatory wearing of face masks for passengers. While Emirates is currently facilitating onboard social distancing on low-demand flights, Sir Tim doesn’t believe this is sustainable for long – it simply isn’t economically or environmentally feasible he told the audience.

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