By Rob Morris
'We have 130 airlines today and that is continually increasing' - Dubai Airports official.
Hub operator Dubai Airports is in talks with various airlines interested in launching flights to the emirate, it revealed on Thursday.Rich Talian, vice president of strategy for Dubai Airports, told Arabian Business that carriers from across the globe are still vying for services to and from Dubai, despite the global economic downturn.
While speaking on the sidelines of a Kingfisher press conference to announce its services to Dubai, Talian said: “When you benchmark us against airports of a similar stature it’s a healthy picture and we are still actively talking to carriers to continue that growth going forward. We have 130 airlines today and that is continually increasing.”
While declining to name which airlines Dubai Airports was talking to, Talian said the operator had received interest from carriers across the globe.
In particular, airlines from the Indian subcontinent, North America and Western Europe want to launch routes to the emirate, he added.
“It [Dubai] is still an attractive destination even in the current climate with high priorities for carrier networks,” Talian said. “We are talking to both mature airlines for increasing frequency, and new areas that are perhaps yet untapped.”
Figures issued by the International Air Transport show that global passenger traffic was down 9.3 percent in May compared to the same month last year.
But despite the drop in passenger demand, airlines still see Dubai as a profitable route, according to Talian.
He added the airport is big enough to cope with increased capacity and more airlines.
“We have had the addition of Terminal 3 and extension of terminal 2, and the new airport at Dubai World Central (in Jebel Ali) is coming in June 2010.
“There is capacity and we are continuing to assess that, not just for the next 12-18 months but also for the longer term and we are continually planning airport capacity to ensure as demand increases we are in a position to support that.”