Emirates: new long range 777s enable American expansion

Image: Emirates planes at evening.
With deliveries of the ultra long-haul Boeing 777-200LR (configured with 266 seats in a three-class layout), non-stop flights to most of North America are now possible. Emirates has taken delivery of four 777-200LRs and has a further six on order. Its fleet also includes 32 777-300ERs.

In the six-month period between April and September 2007, Emirates saw passenger numbers climb 23% to 10.3 million. This suggests that in the full calendar year, the airline will have transported around 20 million passengers, the vast majority of whom will have either passed through Dubai, or started or ended their journey there. Traffic has virtually doubled in the last four years as the fleet has grown to over 100 long-haul aircraft, but load factors have consistently remained in the 75% to 80% range and, more significantly, the airline has reported healthy profits.

Coming to America – north and south

Image: Emirates initiates second north American gateway at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Emirates CEO, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum initiates the airline’s second north American gateway at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, followed by serious discussions between the city and airline to further develop economic opportunities.

With deliveries of the ultra long-haul Boeing 777-200LR (configured with 266 seats in a three-class layout), non-stop flights to most of North America are now possible. In the last year, the airline has announced new routes to Houston (which started in December) as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco, both of which will start operating later this year.

Since last July, the airline has either started or announced 11 new routes.

Destination Launch Date Weekly frequency when launched
Venice 1 July 2007 5
Newcastle 1 September 2007 7
Sao Paulo 1 October 2007 6
Ahmedabad 28 October 2007 6
Toronto 29 October 2007 3
Houston 3 December 2007 3
Cape Town 30 March 2008 7
Kozhikode (Calicut) 1 July 2008 6
Guangzhou 1 July 2008 4
Los Angeles 1 September 2008 7
San Francisco 26 October 2008 7
Source: Airline website

Apart from three new US routes (to complement the existing double-daily New York JFK service), Emirates also started operating to Toronto and Sao Paulo last year to broaden its presence in the Americas.

Image: Emirates sponsors Canada’s tennis tounament, Rogers Cup.
In support of the airline’s first direct service from Toronto to Dubai and in keeping with its sporting sponsorship background, Emirates is a platinum sponsor of Canada’s leading Toronto based tennis tournament, The Rogers Cup.

Image: Emirates flying high24-hour operations with distinct waves

As a global hub – linking the Americas and Europe with the Middle East, Asia and Africa – it helps that Dubai airport operates throughout the day and night. A closer look at the airline’s schedules reveals the main peaks in terms of arriving and departing flights.

Chart: Emirates at Dubai
Source: Derived from OAG Max Online data for w/c 21 April 2008

There are two major waves of inbound flights. One is between 23:00 and 01:15 and the other is between 05:00 and 07:00, while the corresponding outbound waves occur between 02:00 and 03:45, and 07:00 and 10:15. Since Dubai is unconstrained in terms of opening hours, many of the flight timings are influenced by curfews and flight restrictions at the destination airport.

UK and India dominate country markets

Around one quarter of all flights and seats operated by Emirates from Dubai are to just two countries – the UK and India. Six destinations are served in the UK: both major London airports, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and most recently, Newcastle.

Chart: Emirates top 10 country markets
Source: OAG Max Online data for w/c 21 April 2008

A total of nine destinations are currently served in India, with a 10th (Calicut) due to start in July. Emirates serves just four destinations in Germany (Dűsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich) and would like to serve more. However, Lufthansa has been exerting pressure on the German regulatory authorities to try and prevent the airline from being allowed access to additional markets, such as Berlin or Stuttgart.

China and South Africa both appear in the top six country markets and with the Chinese government investing heavily in various African infrastructure projects, Emirates offers ideal connections between these two regions serving Beijing and Shanghai in China and Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, plus daily flights to Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania.


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