Emirates on route to double size with eventual move to Al Maktoum airport

MIAMI // Emirates can double in size once the airline makes the move to Al Maktoum International airport in Jebel Ali, the airline’s president said yesterday.

At the International Air Travel Association annual general meeting in Miami, Tim Clark said that within the next decade the airline would eventually move from its current base at Dubai International to the new airport in Jebel Ali removing any constraints on its growth.

“There is nothing stopping us doubling in size once we get to [the new airport], as simple as that,” said Mr Clark.

The carrier currently employs about 56,000 staff, operates 234 aircraft, including the largest fleet of A380 superjumbos, on 144 routes and in the last financial year earned revenues of more than $24 billion, up 10 per cent year on year. It carried almost 50 million passengers during the period.

The airline will benefit from a US$7.8bn 2020 expansion plan at Dubai International Airport that includes Concourse D – a state of the art facility for international airlines, the expansion of Terminal 2, and the complete refurbishment of Terminal 1, according to operator Dubai Airports. It handled over 70 million passengers last year, making it the world’s busiest for international passengers.

Emirates has targeted flying 70 million people itself by 2020.

However, the new airport at Dubai World Central is expected by 2022 to have capacity to handle 220 million passengers annually once a $32bn expansion is complete. It will be able to handle 100 A380s at a time.

In Miami, Mr Clark also said that the carrier was working on its own distribution system, which would give it more control over ticket prices.

Airlines are considering copying a move by Lufthansa to apply a €16 surcharge on tickets booked via third-party systems as they try to improve earnings on ticket sales, executives said at the Miami meeting.

Lufthansa said last week it was introducing the surcharge for tickets booked via third parties on global distribution systems, a decision that prompted ire from providers such as Amadeus.


* with agencies

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