Emirates, the largest customer of the Airbus A380, plans to reinstate more of its double-deckers by the end of 2021 and expects continued growth in the second half of its fiscal year, the airline's chairman said.
The airline will return more than 60 of its A380s to the skies, up from 47 superjumbos currently in operation, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group, said at a media briefing at the Dubai Airshow on Monday.
The airline recorded operating profit in October for the first time since the onset of the pandemic amid a rebound in passenger travel demand and a strong performance from its freight business.
October was a “positive month for Emirates, it was better than expected and I see that is going to continue”, Sheikh Ahmed said.
Emirates has been engaged in “positive” talks with Boeing regarding the delivery time and supply chain for the 777X programme, Sheikh Ahmed said.
“It is positive, it is good, maybe there are certain things I cannot really say at the moment because still we are in that process,” he said. “But I can say it is positive. We [will] focus on the programme delivery.”
Asked whether the airline would also consider a proposed freighter version of the 777X, Sheikh Ahmed declined to comment as discussions with the US plane manufacturer are ongoing.
Emirates also has Airbus A350s on order and Sheikh Ahmed did not rule out potential interest in Airbus's new A350 freighter version.
“Why not? We are looking at all options for the airline,” he said.
Dubai AirShow 2021 Day 2 — in pictures
Cargo constitutes about 30 per cent of Emirates' total revenue and the airline has a large capacity in the belly hold of its all-wide-body fleet.
When asked whether the airline would consider expediting its A350 deliveries if uncertainty persists around the 777X delivery dates, Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates has been in discussions with Airbus regarding its A350 order.
“We've been in good, positive meetings with Boeing on the 777X programme and to be sure on the delivery date and also on the Airbus today with A350. So, we would be talking about what we can expedite. We have many scenarios [to look at]," he said, without elaborating.
Upon being asked if state-owned Emirates could be among the 10 government entities that Dubai plans to list on its bourse, Sheikh Ahmed said: “We have successful businesses within the group that can be [listed].
“We are one of the companies that are owned by the government of Dubai, which announced Dewa and Salik will be the first in the programme. I am sure that the committee headed by Sheikh Maktoum [bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance] would be announcing that in the [coming] days and weeks, so they would be the right people to answer which company.”