By Joel Bowman
Business class airline eyeing expansion to west coast of US, South Africa and Far East.
Business class airline Silverjet may make Dubai a hub for future worldwide expansion, a senior executive said on Tuesday, as the carrier gears up for the launch of its Dubai-London route next month.
Speaking on the sidelines of a travel exhibition in Dubai, the airline’s Chief of Staff Katherine Gershon told ArabianBusiness.com the company is eyeing expansion to the west coast of the US, South Africa and the Far East from the emirate.
She said Silverjet will be adding two long-range planes in June - bringing its fleet to five - which will open up destinations across the world for the UK-based carrier, including San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“If Dubai really takes off, as we expect it to, then we can use this as a hub to launch to other destinations,” said Gershon.
"Nobody has taken this business class only model anywhere else but transatlantic before. We’re looking to take it south, east west and possibly north of Dubai,” she said.
The airline had looked at other possibilities in the US for its second route - it currently operates one route between Luton-London Airport and Newark International Airport in New York - but chose Dubai for both branding and its geographically strategic positioning.
“As well as prestige, Dubai brings breadth to the network. It means we now have destinations east and west of our London hub. From an investment perspective, that’s very important.”
Silverjet is looking to match transatlantic growth with its newest route between Dubai and the UK, the first flight takes off from the emirate on November 19.
“Basically we need 65 people on every flight to make money. It took us just six months to get to 80 people on our London to New York route. We’re looking for similar results here,” said Gershon.
There are currently around three and a half million passengers travelling the London to Dubai route. To make a profit Silverjet needs to capture around 25,000 of those travellers, the airline said.