Emirates voices confidence in airline industry future
Emirates is maintaining delivery over the next 12 months of 11 aircraft on order, the Dubai-owned airline announced on Monday October 8, in a vote of confidence in the future of the battered airline industry.
"We have 11 aircraft which will be delivered in the next 12 months," said Emirates group director for corporate communications Mike Simon in comments published Monday.
"We have not deferred delivery of those -- not from Boeing and not from Airbus, not for the present," he told Gulf News, which said the commitment came as US missiles began to hit nearby Afghanistan.
"These are tough times for the airline industry and business in general, but we aim to take delivery of the aircraft we have ordered," Simon said. "In time the traveling public will come back. It took 15-18 months after the Kuwait crisis (1990-1991) and this time around I suspect that it would be at least that," he said.
Emirates has 23 firm orders for A330s with Airbus Industry as part of an expansion plan over coming years, making it the European airliner consortium's largest A330 customer. Emirates also has orders for six A340-500s, deliveries of which begin next year, and has ordered five of the new Airbus A380 super-jumbo airliners and taken an option on five more.
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum told reporters Sunday that passenger and cargo traffic through Dubai International Airport increased more than five percent in September over last year; despite the September 11 US terrorist strikes with hijacked commercial airliners.
The airline aims to have as many as 210 planes operational by 2010, from a current fleet of 36 planes. Dubai projects a six-fold increase in tourism to the Gulf emirate within the next decade.
Emirates registered a 20 percent jump in passengers in 2000 to 5.7 million and a 24 percent increase in cargo to 335,194 tons. Passenger traffic jumped 14 percent in the first six months of 2001 to 6.8 million from 5.9 million the previous year. A total of 14 million are expected to travel through Dubai this year.
Cargo posted eight percent growth, handling 287.9 billion kilograms up until June 30 while Dubai Duty Free recorded a 22 percent rise in sales to $125.7 million. Dubai airport, which handled 12.3 million passengers in 2000, is about to undergo an expansion that will include a third terminal, as well as expansion of the cargo village, airfield, and infrastructure and support facilities. Dubai expects to register 30 million passengers by 2010 and 62 million passengers by 2020. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)