A350/Dreamliner choice could impact up to 88% of Emirates flights, says OAG
As Airbus and Boeing go head-to-head in negotiations for Emirates outstanding order of 70 extra-widebodied aircraft, aviation intelligence expert OAG reveals the critical importance of Emirates' choice and how it could impact up to 88% of the carrier's flights.
John Grant, executive vice president, OAG, said: “Reportedly, Emirates will be applying its new order to its shorter-haul routes in the Middle East and Africa. Our route analysis shows that, despite operating aircraft capable of flying distances of up to 8,500 miles, 88% of Emirates’ July 2014 flights still operate to destinations within 4,000 miles of Dubai. With this in mind, it’s clear why Emirates is taking more time to consider its position; there is a lot at stake.”
According to OAG, the amount of Emirates flights to destinations over 4,000 miles from Dubai has only increased by 1% since July 2013. There are only 19 services to destinations beyond 4,000 miles with just one addition since last year, to Boston.
The average distance per flight in July 2014 across the Emirates network is 2,463 miles, up from 2,361 last year. The longest sector Emirates operates is Dubai-Los Angeles International, at 7,233 miles and just over 16 hours’ flying time.
OAG’s analysis of Emirates’ network also demonstrates why the carrier is pressing Arbus to re-engine the A380. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the A380 and currently has 48 in service, with another 92 on order. The airline operates A380s mostly to Europe and Asia Pacific, and the aircraft are used for 19% of Emirates’ flights in July 2014, an increase from 12% last July. However, the majority of services are still operated by the airline’s fleet of 136 Boeing 777s. The Emirates A380s have 171 more seats than the 777 and this July sees the airline continue to add A380 capacity to airports in Western Europe.
Emirates’ biggest destination region is Asia Pacific, which accounts for 39% of its flights in July 2014. Of the big three Gulf carriers, Emirates has 44% of flights to Asia Pacific from the UAE and Qatar, and has the largest market share across all regions except for the Middle East.
Latin America is still largely unserved by Emirates, with just two services to Brazil and nothing to the west coast of the region. Routes such as Dubai-Lima or Dubai-Santiago are approximately 8,000 miles in distance, which would potentially push the A380 near the limit of its range, meaning these destinations may only become viable if and when Airbus deliver an A380neo (New Engine Option).
Grant said: “It may well be that Emirates had a time sensitive cancellation clause on the A350 which was about to expire. It’s not all bad news for Airbus though. This is potentially a good opportunity for other carriers who can take advantage of the production spaces to get earlier delivery of their own A350 orders.
“While there may be speculation that Emirates is attracted by the now-proven lower operating costs of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the airline appears to be well-placed with current aircraft in its fleet and those on order, to move into new growth markets as they emerge. These may be long-haul or shorter routes where Emirates’ hub operations can drive the traffic density required to make the most of the wide-body fleet.”