29-Mar-2010 2:07 PM

Emirates increased fares and seat factor up, sees opportunity from airlines trimming premium classes

Emirates President, Tim Clark, stated that the airline’s seat factor rose in 2009, despite an increase in fares (The National, 28-Mar-2010). Emirates, which is expected to report its financial statistics in May-2010, estimates passenger numbers were above 23 million for 2009.

Emirates:We had dropped our fares thinking it would stimulate markets. At about March [2009], I began thinking 'this doesn't make sense to me, and if we carry on like this, we will be at yield levels pre-dating the turn of the millennium, so we better sort ourselves out'. You know something? Seat factors went up, loads went up. This is the tip of the iceberg. When the world turned upside down, profiles were skewed, the demand patterns changed overnight, and we were trying to manage chaos. But in the end, in that chaos, you fall back on your instinct and your instinct is saying 'you've done this before'. Global meltdowns, meltdowns in the Asian economies in 1998, oil crises - you look at what you did then, which basically was keep the ship dead straight on course. You might slow it a little bit, you certainly don't turn it off course. You keep it going. When airlines say ‘there is no First-class or Business-class’, well, this is music to my ears. I'm sorry guys. If you really think planet Earth is going to be in the doldrums circa 2008 forever, forget it. It's not going to happen. This premium business is going to come bouncing back, as it already is. In this part of the world, is First and Business-class going away? No way. We also have a lot of First-class coming out of Europe, Asia and South America,” Tim Clark, President. Source: The National, 28-Mar-2010.