By Neil Halligan
US carriers never believed the airline would grow so big
The chairman of Emirates said the company has no immediate succession plans for its current President, Sir Tim Clark.
Speaking at the announcement of the airline’s annual results, the airline’s chairman Sheikh Ahmed said that despite Clark having reached the age of 65, there is no succession plan in place, adding that he can extend the retirement age for senior members of staff.
“We never had a succession plan,” Ahmed told reporters. “I think we always value our people and I am very proud of the team that I have been working with for nearly the last 30 years, from the start of the airline. Obviously there is a policy in the company when it comes to age but I always value highly the senior people in Emirates and I can always extend that (retirement age).”
Clark said last month that he intended to stay on at Emirates for another ten years, which would including him overseeing the transfer of the airline to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central in 2023.
The airline’s results showed that the Emirates Group, which includes dnata, recorded a profit of $1.5 billion for the year to March 31, which is the 27th consecutive year in profit for the group, on the back of a 10 percent yearly rise in revenue to $26.3 billion.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmad said the current spat between US airlines and Gulf carriers would not slow their progress in opening up new routes to the United States. He said the US carriers never believed that Emirates would grow to such a size, which has led to them raising a series of complaints about subsidies.
“I always say the noise is coming from the airlines who never thought that the Gulf carriers - I'm especially talking about Emirates - that they would be the size they see today. They (US carriers) always think that they are the best, they are the biggest and nobody can overtake them. And I think here we have changed that,” he said.
“What we see in the US, and the allegations from the three airlines, that will not stop us from what we are doing. We believe we have been very transparent when it comes to Emirates and our results. Anybody who looks at the numbers will where this money is coming from and where it’s spent, to every detail and every penny,” he added.
The results will mean staff will enjoy a healthy bonus, which was due to be announced soon after the conclusion of the press conference at its Dubai headquarters on Airport Road.
“It will be a good year for them, because of all the hard work that they have achieved for the year,” said Sheikh Ahmad.
He said the airline added 8,600 new employees during the past year, bringing its total to 84,000 – an 11% increase.
He also said the airline’s hotel arm had an impressive year. “This was supported by the opening of the second tower at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai,” he said.