By Tom Arnold
US carrier's MD says expansion plans will be unaffected by global financial crisis.
The regional managing director of United Airlines has said he is confident the US carrier’s new Dubai service will be a success, despite the global economic downturn.
From October 27, United will fly non-stop services from the emirate to Washington Dulles, one of United’s five US hubs.
It follows a move by rival US carrier Delta Air Lines to start a daily nonstop Dubai to Atlanta flight and a service from November 8 to Kuwait City, a destination United already operates from.
But Marcel Fuchs, United’s managing director Europe, Africa and the Middle East, told Arabian Business the carrier’s expansion plans in the Middle East would be unaffected by the global financial crisis.
“We are in business to compete and it is challenging times for everyone but we would not be doing this service if we didn’t think there would be demand. We would expect that over time there will be more capacity from Dubai” said Fuchs on Thursday.
“We have a significant diverse business in the Middle East with education, energy and finance and with the military going through Dubai and Kuwait, as a US carrier we benefit from that.
“This new route further strengthens our presence in the Middle East and allows us to take advantage of the growing commerce between the region and the United States.”
Washington Dulles offers connections to over 80 destinations across the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
United, the second largest US carrier, announced in June it was cutting its fleet, operations and up to 1,100 additional jobs to compete amid soaring fuel prices and a weakening domestic economy.
At the time, United said it would lower international capacity by up to 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter and by 5 percent in full-year 2009, compared with 2007 capacity.
Delta, the third biggest US carrier, confirmed on Wednesday it was launching a four times weekly nonstop flight from Kuwait City to Atlanta.
"In the past 12 months we have enjoyed load factors on the Dubai to Atlanta service in the mid to high 80 percent range. We are very pleased with the success of this flight and are confident we can sustain its performance with a daily service," said Manoj Kuriakose, commercial manager - Middle East, Delta Air Lines.
"Our forecasts for the new Kuwait City to Atlanta flight show very positive demand and we have high expectations for that service as well.”
I think it's a very good move by United to make a Direct Flight from Dubai to DC nonstop, im pretty sure many doplimatics will fly this since DC is the Capital City of the USA. and since its a Direct flight many connection flight will be found for domestic flights, That goes to Delta going to Atlantic but I think United is going to grow if my expectation was correct, and will compete against Delta since i think they have no way on beating Emirates's New A380 in comfort, my point is if their Cabin from Economy was very good people will fly them but I'd prefer flying Emirates Economy for comfort and Leg space and relaxing, thats the New Economy of Emirates A380. I heard Emirates are planning on chaning Cabins for their Old A330s and A340s in 2009 and i wish and WISH they make the same as A380 for Economy but its too low to have them doing this because it will take alot of space if they did like their A380