Gulf airline Emirates needs to redefine its strategy after the coronavirus pandemic brought global aviation to a near halt, its chief operating officer said on Thursday, flagging an increased focus on bringing more visitors to Dubai.
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The group is one of the world’s biggest long-haul carriers and has over the past 35 years transformed Dubai into a major gateway for international travelers, most of whom connect onto flights to elsewhere.
“We will need to redefine some of the operating model... because surely what used to work for us in the past is not going to work for us going forward,” Adel Ahmad al-Redha told Reuters.
An Emirates Airline Airbus A380-800 plane takes off from Dubai International Airport in Dubai, UAE. (File photo: Reuters)
He said Emirates would focus on getting more passengers to visit Dubai while continuing to “connect the world” through the hub-and-spoke model it relied on for over three decades.
Emirates only operates international flights.
The airline is also planning to reexamine its network and to look at greater cooperation with fellow state carrier flydubai, he said. The two state airlines already sell tickets on some of each other's flights and coordinate on network planning.
Redha said booking demand was looking positive after plunging during the pandemic and that some flights were filling 50 percent of occupancy. He cautioned that it was unclear whether the recovery would be sustained.
Most passengers traveling on its flights were those who had been stranded because of lockdowns or were travelling to visit family members rather that for business or leisure, he said.