Emirates to operate 90% of its pre-pandemic network by end of July

Airline plans to add its A380 network to more cities as countries reopen borders and ease travel restrictions

Emirates aims to fly to 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic network by the end of July, operating 880 weekly services across 124 cities as countries reopen borders and ease travel restrictions on the back of vaccination programmes.

The airline will resume services to a number of cities in July including Venice, Phuket, Nice, Orlando, Mexico City, Lyon and Malta, according to a statement from Emirates on Thursday. It will also launch flights to Florida's second-biggest city, Miami, starting on July 22.

“We are encouraged by the latest developments as many countries have begun to turn the page and reopen for international visitors, and we are seeing strong signs of pent-up demand wherever restrictions have eased,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, Emirates chairman and chief executive, said.

“Emirates is nimbly matching up flight services and identifying opportunities to grow our footprint, and provide customers more opportunities to safely get where they want to go this summer."

The Covid-19 pandemic sparked the worst crisis in the history of the global aviation industry. The outbreak brought air travel to a near-standstill last year, forcing most airlines to cut jobs, ground their fleets and seek government assistance to stay afloat.

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Emirates quarantine-free destinations

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The International Air Transport Association (Iata) expects the outlook for global airlines to brighten in the second half of the year. Total air passenger numbers in 2021 will be 52 per cent lower than they were in 2019, before bouncing back to 88 per cent of their pre-crisis levels in 2022 and exceed pre-pandemic levels (105 per cent) by 2023.

Emirates will also increase frequencies to 12 cities across Europe, Africa and North America as more destinations reopen to international visitors and offer quarantine-free travel, it said. Flights will increase to Munich, Dusseldorf and Hamburg in Germany, Zurich, Vienna, Prague, Madrid, Stockholm, Brussels, Lisbon, Chicago and Tunis, it said.

In Europe, the airline currently flies to more than 30 cities in 20 countries including popular holiday destinations in Greece, Spain, Italy, France and Malta, which offer quarantine-free entry on arrival.

Emirates said it will continue to build its presence in the US as the country boosts vaccine rollouts. With the addition of Miami to its network in July, the airline will operate over 70 weekly flights to the US, offering over 26,000 seats across 12 gateways including Boston, Chicago, New York, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and Orlando.

Emirates will also boost its A380 network to more cities this summer including Cairo, Jeddah, Amman, London, Paris, New York and Moscow, among others, it said.

Earlier this week, Emirates reported its second annual loss since its inception more than three decades ago but vowed to bounce back "stronger than before".

The airline reported a loss of Dh20.3 billion ($5.5bn) for the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with a profit of Dh1.1bn in the previous year as revenue fell by 66 per cent to Dh30.9bn due to the temporary suspension of passenger flights in the wake of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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