By Rob Morris
EXCLUSIVE: No plans to scale back operations amid global economic crisis, airline says.
Emirates Airline said on Monday it would forge ahead with expansion plans in 2009 amid the global economic downturn.
A spokesperson for the Dubai-based carrier said growing the airline’s fleet and route network is still the plan, despite aviation chiefs insisting next year will be tough for the industry.
“Emirates will continue to receive new aircraft in 2009 and we have no plans to scale back our route network or operations,” the spokesperson told Arabian Business.
The airline’s bullish statement follows reports that aircraft orders will significantly slump in 2009 as global markets continue to struggle.
It is understood that Airbus and Boeing will offer airlines loans worth billions of dollars to stimulate aircraft orders.
The aircraft manufacturers are concerned carriers that have slashed capacity and cut costs to counter the credit crisis will need financial assistance to afford new planes.
Emirates insists it has no such concerns, despite reporting an 88 percent profit drop to $77 million in this year’s opening half.
On Monday, Emirates launched its inaugural flight to San Francisco, its fifth North American destination. The service will initially operate three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays before increasing to daily flights next year.
The Emirates spokesperson said flights to the US were proving popular, with the San Francisco service expected to attract high passenger loads.
“Despite the economic environment, demand for Emirates' services has continued to hold firm,” the spokesperson said.
“In the US, our flights to Houston and LA are operating at a load factor of over 80 percent and New York is also doing well, particularly given that we have added our large-capacity A380 on the route, once daily. Advanced bookings on our flights to San Francisco are also very strong.”
Last year, the airline ordered 143 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, including 11 Airbus A380s, for some $34.9 million at the Dubai Airshow.
Some deliveries are expected next year, with additional aircraft arriving in 2014 and beyond.
Its not 34.9 million,its 34.9 billion! "Last year, the airline ordered 143 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, including 11 Airbus A380s, for some $34.9 million at the Dubai Airshow. "-Found above