Emirates is feeling the effects of a global slowdown and this year will prove to be a particularly challenging one, according to its president.
“It’s tough [compared to last year]. We are working on it,” said Tim Clark at an International Air Transport Association (Iata) event in Dubai.
Air traffic demand “is all about consumer demand. It’s not there yet”.
The Emirates executive touched on a range of issues that have an impact on its global operations, including the security situation in Europe following terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, and the impact of the United Kingdom’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.
“We remain optimistic. Perhaps [it’s] not as good as it used to be but [it] will be in two to three years [provided there are no further geopolitical issues in Europe].”
The Dubai carier has also made some cuts to its frequencies in Africa because of weakening currencies and recession in markets such as Nigeria.
“We made some contractions in Africa [because of the currency] situation,” Mr Clark said, adding that more cities and frequencies can be cut.
The airline has cut its twice daily flights to the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja to once daily because of a hard currency shortage that is forcing airlines to refuel in neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the airline’s fleet renewal plans remain unaffected by the economic upheaval. “Fleet [and deliveries] remain as is. We have 44 aircraft coming between end of this month and December 2018,” Mr Clark said.
On the US elections, Mr Clark said: “Whoever comes, I do hope [he/she] will recognise the value of liberal open skies policies and won’t go for [a] review of existing agreements.”
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