Emirates finishes the year on a high
Emirates will round off 2014 as the airline with the world's largest wide-body passenger fleet with 218 aircraft, in addition to 14 freighters.
Following two consecutive years of record deliveries and capacity increases, 2014 saw Emirates adding 27 aircraft - 13 Airbus A380s, 12 Boeing 777-300ERs two Boeing 777 freighters – to its fleet. These included its 50th A380 and its 100th 777-300ER aircraft, strengthening Emirates’ position as the world’s largest operator of both the A380 and 777. These modern and efficient aircraft not only help reduce environmental impact, but also enable Emirates to offer the latest facilities and comfort on board.
Remarking on an eventful year marked by a series of external challenges, Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline said: “This year we have navigated through an 80-day period of reduced operations due to runway upgrades at our hub airport, regional conflicts which impacted our operations and flight routes, the Ebola outbreak, fluctuations in oil prices and currency exchange rates, and economic uncertainty in many markets worldwide.
“Despite all that, Emirates has continued to grow, adding capacity equivalent to a mid-sized airline while maintaining our seat load factors. We also expanded and strengthened our global network, which gives us the flexibility to cope with regional shocks and redeploy strategically to maximise opportunities. We deal with the short term challenges, but are not distracted from our long-term plans. This is why Emirates continues to invest heavily in new technology and initiatives to enhance our product offering and customer experience.”
Growth and connectivity
Since January 2014, Emirates has carried over 45 million passengers, operating 3,516 flights per week on average. The airline carried over 2.1 million tonnes of cargo, served over 47 million meals and flew 756 million kilometres – equivalent to circumnavigating the globe 18,552 times.
Emirates introduced services to eight new destinations this year, with each new point exponentially increasing the number of city-pair combinations that the airline offers to its leisure, business and cargo customers across its global network. The new cities launched in 2014 were: Kiev, Taipei, Boston, Abuja, Chicago, Oslo, Brussels and Budapest.
In addition, Emirates added frequencies to 20 existing destinations, increasing flight choices for its customers.
Industry analyst Saj Ahmad said: “Emirates ends 2014 in much the same way that it started the year - it's a continuation of its razor-sharp focus on growing its fleet, network and passenger numbers to bolster its international appeal and become the biggest and most profitable airline in the world.
“As the launch customer for the revolutionary 777X family with orders and options on up to 200 airplanes, Emirates is capitalising on its growth today with a near non-stop stream inductions of the A380-800 and 777-300ER jets which form the backbone of its global operations.
“Emirates has already this year up gauged many cities with increased capacity with the A380 while only this week it has added another daily flight to the likes of Birmingham, UK, with another 777-300ER service that includes a First Class product to complement services to underserved markets largely ignored by other competitors.
“As the biggest A380 and 777 operator and customer in the world and exclusively only operating wideboy jets, Emirates still has orders and options for 303 more widebody jets. This doesn't include the near certainty that Emirates will be adding even more 777X jets to replace the existing 777-300ER from later next decade and there is also the chance that by the time the Dubai Air Show rolls around in November next year that the airline could be buying a significant fleet of 787-10s too.
“While Emirates has never re-ordered airplanes that it cancels, the June 2014 cancellation of the A350-900 and A350-1000 arguably puts Boeing in the driving seat to win Emirates' next round of airplane purchases. Emirates has become an industry icon that has turned profits in every year but one of its operations and commands global respect for its stature. That will continue for years to come as the airline looks to expand with even more routes in 2015 as it heads towards the goal of hitting profits of $1bn by the time May 2015 rolls around as the airline benefits from the slide in oil prices and executes on its accurate fuel hedging strategy to supress costs.”
Emirates continues to be a trailblazer for onboard connectivity, investing over $20 million a year to install and operate inflight connectivity systems. Wi-Fi services are available on over 80 aircraft in Emirates’ fleet, and the airline is looking to roll it out across all its aircraft.
More importantly, Emirates is subsidising or waiving the high cost of data for its passengers. Emirates is updating the software to eventually give passengers unlimited and free access to Wi-Fi. Right now, passengers enjoy the first 10MB of data free on most Emirates A380 aircraft. They pay a token US$1 for the next 500MB.