Emirates

British Airways gained momentum last year last year and expects to build on that this year.

That is the report from the Gulf Daily News, that last year BA operated 52 weekly flights during the winter, its highest ever from the region.

Mr. De Renzis, a BA executive also said that he expects strong forward bookings in the region.

“We just closed a very successful year in the Middle East and we are very optimistic about the current year,” he said.

gulf Daily News reports that over the last five years, the airline has increased regional capacity by 40 per cent with the expansion focusing on the larger markets of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait either by adding flights and flying larger planes and would continue to do so if the market demand was there, he said.

British Airways A380 Flying Above Clouds

Middle East bound

So what is driving this expansion? Greater profit per passenger, as according to industry experts, the Middle East leads the globe in growth of business and first-class traffic. The airline executive said British Airways was earning about 50 per cent of passenger revenue in the region from the high-margin premium segment, and experts say yields per premium passenger are typically around four to five times higher than those for economy class.

But competition is likely to increase as the Middle East airlines are increasing capacity.

Emirates a380

50 more of these please


Last years Dubai Airshow saw a spending spree, reported here, with orders for A380 and 777x aircraft being placed by Emirates.

Emirates Orders Additional 50 Airbus A380s to Expand Fleet

Emirates said it will purchase an additional 50 Airbus SAS A380 superjumbos, which is the biggest single deal so far for the largest commercial jetliner.

The order which is valued at about $20 billion at the list price (but we don’t know the actual purchase price) was signed today as the Dubai Air Show. Emirates, which is the world’s largest international airline, said that the aircraft will serve both to replace existing fleet and to grow the airline.

Emirates a380

50 more of these please

Emirates Airlines is currently the biggest customer for the A380 having taken delivery of 38 already and with with orders for 90 A380.

The deal is a record for the A380, and comes as a boost to Airbus, which had been considering reducing A380 output, and instead finishes the year strongly.

Reports in the Arabian press suggest that Emirates, the airline of Dubai, is contemplating entering the transatlantic market.

While there is no suggestion that any decision is remotely imminent, even the mention of it must bring a cold shudder to both British Airways & Virgin Atlantic.

British Airways HeathrowFrom a near standing start, Emirates now flies 5 A380s a day between Dubai & Heathrow, three times a day from Gatwick, twice from Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham and once from Newcastle. From its hubs in the north of the UK alone, Emirates flew some 800,000 passengers last year.

Starting in October, Emirates will begin operating flights from Dubai to Milan and onwards to New York. Although current regulations currently prevent Emirates from carrying passengers between the UK & US, if this was to change it could have a massive effect on the UK aviation market.

With Heathrow already operating at near 100% capacity, Emirates would not be able to secure the necessary flights between the UK’s premier airport and the US. Outside of Heathrow however, there is still some spare slot capacity at London Gatwick and significant spare capacity at the UK’s regional airports.

Virgin Atlantic Aside from a few services between Gatwick and Las Vegas & Orlando, all British Airways flights to the US currently operate out of Heathrow. Virgin too operate the vast majority of their US flights from Heathrow & Gatwick with just a couple of seasonal services from Manchester & Glasgow.

With the Davies Commission currently looking into airport capacity in the UK, Heathrow and British Airways have jointly argued that the only solution is to increase capacity at Heathrow by building a 3rd runway. The Mayor of London disagrees with a new runway being built at Heathrow and instead wants a brand new, 4 runway airport built to the east of London.

Against this, regional airports and business leaders have, for some time now, argued against what they see as an entirely London-centric debate and sought to attract many more, direct, long-haul flights from the Midlands, North of England Scotland. Securing such flights from the likes of Birmingham & Manchester would, they argue, shift pent-up demand away from the south east and negate much of the need for new airport capacity in or around London.

If Emirates was to secure rights to carry passengers between the UK and US it could, in theory at least, flood the market with A380s (it will eventually have a fleet of over 90, by far the largest in the world) on flights between Dubai, Manchester & the US.

That is the theory, the reality is more complicated. Even if Emirates was granted permission to fly between the UK & the US, both New York & Chicago, its main targets, also suffer from capacity constraints and Emirates might not be able to secure the slots it requires. If it didn’t, is there really enough of a market for Emirates to fly passengers between Manchester and say Washington, Boston or Miami, especially on such large aircraft?

One of the reasons that British Airways stopped flying between Manchester and New York wasn’t a lack of leisure passengers; it was a lack of business traffic, especially at the front of the aircraft, the part where pretty much every airline in the world makes the majority if its profits. Nothing that Emirates can do will change this.

If Emirates were to secure traffic rights between the UK, and if they could gain the necessary slots in New York, and both are very big ’ifs’, there may be some mileage in offering flights between Manchester & New York. Beyond that, we don’t expect to see an armada of Emirates aircraft en-route to the US anytime soon.

** Update 26.07.13 – a statement this morning from an Emirates spokesperson reads as follows: “We have no immediate plans to operate a direct service between the UK and US.”

 

Emirates A380