Emirates to play key role in industry rebound

Badr Abbas,

Despite the ravaging effects of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, Emirates will continue to play an important role in ensuring that the sector bounces back strongly, Badr Abbas, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations-Africa, has said.

2020 was a year unlike any other. While the whole world was in lockdown, Emirates Airline did not suspend its Cargo operations delivering essential service to more than 130 dedicated cargo destinations.

‘’The airline continued to deliver essential commodities and connected vital trade links across continents during the pandemic,’’ he said

Speaking to a group of Ghanaian journalists and social media influencers during a FAM trip organised by the airline, he said Emirates is gradually opening-up its network under the strict COVID-19 health protocols. The carrier is working hard to help its customers travel safely and confidently, implementing industry-leading health and safety measures at all points of the travel journey

It has put in place protocols to ensure the highest standards of health and safety for its customers and crew at every travel touch-point.

All crew team wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) throughout the flight, and these include face masks, gloves, gowns etc.:   Air in the flights are kept clean and pure”, he said

Passengers onboard the aircraft are wear face masks throughout the flight and are also provided with a Travel Hygiene Kit, which contains face masks, gloves, hand sanitisers, wipes etc.

Back to profitability

As with other airlines, Emirates was not spared.  Mr. Abbas disclosed that there was a reduction in revenue generation as a result of the travel restrictions, which greatly impacted on its revenues.

The airline temporarily suspended operations in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and this is largely the reason for the revenue drop of 75 percent to US$3.2billion dollars as passenger traffic fell by over 90 percent to 1.5 million.

He was upbeat that the carrier will in the not too distant future return to its profit making ways.

“We will certainly be cash-positive during the course of the back-end of next(this) year, returning to profitability in (financial year) 2022-2023,” he added.

He was optimistic that with an increase of demand and opening of travel corridors, the company can resume more of its operations.

He assured of the Airlines commitment in fulfilling most of its sponsorship contracts that it has entered into with other parties. The airline is a big sponsor of football clubs and sporting events among others.

Emirates airlines resumed operations in July and is currently serving 70 percent of its network: “We are currently serving 70 percent of our network destination,” he said.

The Vice President was confident that the airline will be operating at full capacity by summer this year – serving over 150 destinations across the six continents.

As much of the world tightens lockdowns to stem the scourge of the virus, Dubai has opened its doors to the world.

While mask-wearing and social distancing are strictly enforced, life in the Emirate looks much like normal with its restaurants, hotels and mega-malls, safaris all open for business.

The world’s airlines need another US$70-$80bn of government support to get through the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the trade association for the world’s airlines.

Director-General Alexandre de Juniac told the BBC that sum was “on top of the US$170bn already granted”.

Extra funds would “bridge the gap” between now and June, he said.


June is when he expects the first significant easing of travel restrictions, as the impact of vaccines begins to be felt.

Government travel restrictions and a huge fall in passenger confidence meant global demand for flights fell about 60% last year, according to IATA figures.

That means 2020 saw about 1.8 billion passengers fly, instead of the 4.5 billion in 2019. In an industry where profit margins were already thin, it means airlines are estimated to have already lost US$118bn – with worse set to come.

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