Emirates is hoping for a busy summer season with plans to restore nearly 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic passenger network by the end of July as travel restrictions are slowly eased and the mass rollout of vaccines gives passengers the confidence to travel again.
The Dubai-based mega carrier announced it intended to fly to 124 cities across 880 weekly services in just over a months time. The airline said bookings were being boosted by leisure travellers, as well as passengers who are desperate to visit friends and family (VFR) after being separated through the pandemic.
Emirates also said it had seen an uptick in business travel although the airline didn’t say how much this segment had recovered compared to pre-pandemic levels. In July, Emirates will resume service to seven destinations including, Venice, Phuket, Nice, Orlando and Mexico City, Lyon, and Malta.
With passenger numbers beginning to increase, the airline also said it plans to reactivate more of its Airbus A380 aircraft – the majority of which have been parked in the desert heat at Dubai World Central Airport since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
The airline will soon be operating 30 of the double-deck aircraft which will serve 15 cities across 129 weekly services. Roughly 75 per cent of Emirates’ A380 fleet, however, remain grounded.
“Emirates is committed to keeping Dubai, businesses and communities around the world connected and we are working hard to rebuild our network and secure access to more destinations in partnership with various authorities and stakeholders,” commented chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
“We are encouraged by the latest developments as many countries have begun to turn the page and reopen for international visitors, and we are seeing strong signs of pent-up demand wherever restrictions have eased,” Sheikh Al Maktoum continued.
Earlier this week, the Emirates Group announced a record annual loss of $6 billion – the first time the business has reported a loss in more than three decades. The government of Dubai has so far injected $3.1 billion of capital into the company and will continue to financially support Emirates to see it through the crisis.
Despite positive growth in some markets, Emirates remains banned from flying most passengers from India – a traditionally very important market for the airline. Continuing travel restrictions have also severely curtailed demand to and from the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.