Emirates pursues bold expansion amid global slowdown
At a time when global recession looms over the aviation industry, Dubai's Emirates airline recently unveiled $15 billion orders to purchase 58 new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing and announced a 2.4 percent half-yearly profit rise.
Between April and September 2001, the carrier reported a 168.2 million Emirati dirham ($46 million) in unaudited profits, as compared with the Dh164.2 million ($45 million) profit for the half-year ending September 30, 2000.
Dubai’s Crown Prince and the Emirates’ Minister of Defense Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al-Maktoum defended the carrier’s decision to press forward with ambitious multi-billion-dollar expansion plans at the Dubai Aviation 2001 exhibition held earlier this month. The deals’ timing enables the government-owned airline to enjoy preferable rates from Airbus and Boeing, disclosed Al-Maktoum, according to Al-Hayat.
The latest November orders include 25 US Boeing 777 passenger jets for $6.6 billion, to be delivered between 2004 and 2010. Orders for 33 aircraft have been placed with the European Consortium Airbus Industrie, 22 of which are double-decker Airbus A380s to be delivered from 2006 at a cost of seven billion dollars, plus secured options for 10 more A380s, according to AFP. The airline commissioned three twin-engine A330 Airbuses worth $450 million and signed a letter of intent for eight of the four-engine A340-600 Airbuses worth one billion dollars.
Emirates signed an $87-million finance package for the Airbus deal, arranged by Credit Agricole Indosuez. The arrangement will allow the carrier to take delivery on November 26 of the 19th of 27 Airbus A330-200s ordered since 1996, an Emirates statement said.
Founded in 1985, the Emirates airline currently has a fleet of 36 aircraft, flying to 56 destinations in 39 countries. The carrier seeks to triple its fleet to 100 aircraft by the end of the decade, to meet ambitious plans to establish Dubai as a regional tourist and air transport hub.
In 2000, Emirates recorded a 20 percent jump in passengers to 5.7 million, with a 24 percent increase in cargo to 335,194 tons, accounting for $85 million in record profits. The airline management expects passenger traffic to double by 2006, based on projections of a six-fold increase in tourism, to 15 million visitors to the Gulf emirate, within the next decade. — (menareport.com)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)