By Staff writer
Airline president Tim Clark says new product will involve 'quite a big upheaval' to adapt fleet of aircraft
Dubai-based Emirates airline is planning to roll out a new premium-economy product within the next year to 18 months, according to its president Tim Clark.
Premium economy is levelled at between economy class and business class and considered as a potentially lucrative product option for airlines facing tough macroeconomic conditions.
In September, Clark said he was evaluating premium economy and ancillaries as a way to address declining yields and now he has told Air Transport World: “It has advanced. We are at the stage of finding what form it will take.”
Clark told the aviation website that the project will involve “quite a big upheaval” to adapt the hundreds of planes that Emirates operates.
“I would think within the next year to 18 months, we will have it in the airline, hopefully up and running,” he was quoted as saying.
Emirates reported on November 9 a 75 percent fall in first-half profit to AED786 million ($214 million).
The airline filled an average of 75.3 percent of seats in the six months to September 30, a decline of 3 percent.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
For many, this is another 'squeeze' on limited economy class options. As previously reported in Arabian Business.Com, it is bad enough paying a premium for flights originating from Dubai (notably contrasting with comparable journeys commencing from other countries), to add what is in reality an adjunct business class option, effectively reduces the number and, hence, availability of actual economy class seats. So far, Etihad and Qatar Airways are providing attractive options to those offered by Emirates and the latter's apparent policy of taking loyal customers for granted.
So basically time needed to downgrade the existing economy class seats into a 3-5-3 combination with further 'pay for' options - then label the erstwhile economy as premium economy with additional squeeze on the already less-rewarding loyalty program. If the product is 18 months down the line, at least the value proposition should be known.
You can enjoy cheaper tariffs with QA if you accept the inconvenience of a connecting flight in Doha, exactly the same game Emirates is playing.