x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Emirates double-deck Airbuses may return on New York route

Emirates Airline expects to relaunch its Airbus A380 flights to New York in the first half of next year.

Emirates Airline expects to relaunch its Airbus A380 flights to New York in the first half of next year.
Emirates Airline expects to relaunch its Airbus A380 flights to New York in the first half of next year.

Emirates Airline expects to relaunch its Airbus A380 flights to New York in the first half of next year as passenger demand recovers, the Dubai-based carrier's chief executive said. The airline started its New York service with the double-deck aircraft in April last year, but pulled A380s from the route two months later and replaced them with the smaller Boeing 777.

Emirates has stretched its network as demand sank in the recession, especially in the US. The airline currently has five A380s in its fleet. Tim Clark, the chief executive of Emirates, said the company was also interested in expanding to other US cities such as Washington, Seattle, Boston and Chicago. But Mr Clark did not expect the airline to add new US destinations any time soon, the Associated Press reported.

"[History] has hardened us to knee-jerk reactions," he said. Mr Clark said the airline had been filling planes in other US cities it served; including Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But it had kept a lid on the number of flights out of those cities because demand has been so soft. The airline has also kept a close eye on the size of aeroplanes it uses at certain ports, choosing to replace bigger planes, such as the A380, with smaller ones to keep occupancy rates up during the downturn.

The airline is still growing despite the recession. Emirates' passengers numbers globally have jumped by around a fifth since this time last year, Mr Clark said. In June, Mr Clark said that the airline, the Arab world's biggest carrier, should stay profitable for the year ending next March, even after its net profit in the last financial year fell 72 per cent. "The US is coming along, but not as fast as Europe and Asia," Mr Clark said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said yesterday that more than 50 global airlines lost US$2.02 billion (Dh7.42bn) during the second quarter of this year, bringing the industry's total losses for the first half to more than $6bn. But while European and Asian-Pacific carriers were worse off than a year ago, North American airlines managed to trim their losses, while Latin American and Middle Eastern carriers reported a rise in profits, IATA said.

Latin American carriers improved profits from $5 million in the second quarter last year to $485m this year and Middle Eastern carriers saw profits rise from $7m to $20m. As demand was starting to show signs of recovery, Emirates had begun to raise fares again, Mr Clark said, although fares were still discounted by as much as 50 per cent on some routes. Emirates serves nearly 100 destinations in 60 countries. It plans to launch service from its Dubai hub to Durban, South Africa, on October 1 and to Luanda, Angola, on October 25. The carrier has 128 passenger planes in service, with 123 on order, valued at more than $52bn.

* with Associated Press and Agence France-Presse