Emirates: “no downturn whatsoever”

Farnborough Air Show » 2008
August 5, 2008, 8:48 AM

Speaking on the sidelines about FlyDubai’s order announcement for 50 Boeing 737-800s on Monday, Emirates Airline deputy chairman Maurice Flanagan made it clear that his airline hasn’t suffered from the business woes about which other airlines are complaining. “There has been no downturn whatsoever,” said Flanagan here at Farnborough. “We have exceeded our revenue forecast. It is an exciting situation.”

The operator has been one of the world’s most successful since its establishment in 1985. Contrary to what it sees as popular misconception, the airline claims to receive no subsidy from its government owner; rather, it was famously given a couple of aircraft, some seed capital, and told not to came back for more. Apart from its second year of business, Emirates has always been profitable–a status to which local competitors such as Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways continue to aspire as they invest heavily to promote business and tourism and establish appropriate infrastructure.

Asked about the likely impact of current record high oil prices, Flanagan is dismissive of fears about impending world recession. “It is [a result of] speculation and [the market will] soon bust. The present fuel price is beyond the normal range of supply and demand [considerations].”

Flanagan disclosed that in the past two years, fuel has accounted for an ever-greater proportion of the airline’s operating costs. “It has gone from 30 percent to about 42 percent. But we have always been very good at hedging [our supply].”
Emirates is supporting the establishment of new local low-cost carrier FlyDubai until its services begin in mid-2009.

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