In a press briefing this Thursday 24 November 2022, Jean-Pierre Martin, Emirates country manager for Belgium and Luxembourg, announced that Emirates would reinstate the pre-Covid frequency of two daily flights to Brussels from January 2023. The flights will be operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with what Emirates calls the Gamechanger configuration, i.e. with new First class enclosed suites.
Jean-Pierre Martin took the opportunity to review Emirates operations in Belgium and worldwide.
EMIRATES OPERATIONS IN BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
Emirates continues to see a high demand since July 2022 across all cabins to Dubai and beyond. Therefore, the airline decided to return to the pre-Covid frequency: double daily flights to Brussels in January 2023, with an improved Boeing 777-300ER aircraft equipped with Gamechanger (new enclosed suites in first class).
Jean-Pierre Martin mentioned the following facts:
- The market is back to normal for travel despite external challenges. Interestingly, business travel is back. However, the general trend for 2022-2023 is strongly based on late booking.
- Since July, revenues from Brussels operations are back to pre-Covid levels.
- Active crew recruitment in Belgium, twice a year (this year, the next sessions will take place on 12 December in Brussels, and 29 December in Antwerp). The Belgian Emirates workforce currently represents 235 people across various roles.
- The Belgian environmental tax of €4.00 per intercontinental passenger represents €50,000 per month for Emirates, which slightly increases the cost of the flights.
- Cargo continues to provide vital trade links with 4 weekly scheduled freighters in Brussels (2 to Dubai and 2 to Chicago).
- WebCargo: Emirates SkyCargo added a new channel for its customers around the world to directly access and book its flights for cargo shipments, in a digital-led move to enhance user experience and booking efficiency. Working with WebCargo by Freightos, the industry’s largest air cargo booking platform, Emirates SkyCargo customers now have quick and easy direct access to the cargo airline’s flights and inventory to make direct bookings.
- Emirates has a strong focus on special products to offer the highest quality of service. A typical example is the transportation of horses.
The main cargo is:
- Pharmaceuticals (75% of the revenue is on pharma shipment, including Covid vaccine shipments for different pharma shippers). Emirates is supporting the COVAX programme with shipments of Covid vaccines to different African destinations (Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Zambia and Malawi)
- Aircraft spare parts and perishable goods (mostly food)
KEY CORPORATE TOPICS
Positive financial results for first Half Year 2022-2023
- The Emirates Group is reporting a 2022-23 first half-year (April-September 2022) net profit of US$ 1.2 billion, a record half-year performance, against a loss of almost US$ 1.6 billion for the same period last year. The Group also reported an EBITDA of US$ 4.2 billion, a marked improvement from US$ 1.5 billion during the same period last year, illustrating its strong operating profitability.
- The Group revenue was US$ 15.3 billion for the first six months of 2022-23, up 128% from US$ 6.7 billion last year. This was driven by the strong demand for air transport across the world with the further easing and removal of pandemic-related travel restrictions.
- The Group closed the 1st half year of 2022-23 with a strong cash position of US$ 8.9 billion on 30 September 2022, compared to US$ 7.0 billion, as on 31 March 2022. The Group has been able to tap on its own strong cash reserves to support business needs, including debt payments and pandemic-related commitments.
- Emirates’ profit for the first half of 2022-23 hit a new record of US$ 1.1 billion, compared to last year’s loss of US$ 1.6 billion. Despite an unfavourable currency exchange environment, Emirates revenue, including other operating income US$ 13.7 billion was up 131% compared with the US$ 5.9 billion recorded during the same period last year.
- Emirates’ operating costs increased by 73% against an overall capacity growth of 40% mainly due to the substantial increase in fuel costs which more than tripled compared to the same period last year.
- By 30 September, Emirates operated passenger and cargo services to 140 airports (40% increased capacity to 22.8 available tonne-kilometres with its entire Boeing 777 fleet and 73 A380s.
- Passenger traffic carried measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPK) was up by 265% with an average Load Factor of 78.5%, compared with 47.9% during the same period last year. This performance is driven by strong demand for international travel across markets and the ability to plan ahead to meet the demand, activate capacity, and attract customers with its high-quality products and value proposition.
Fleet: retrofitting of older aircraft, new acquisitions, improved service
- In 2022, Emirates took delivery of 2 new Boeing 777 freighters and returned 1 older freighter, a strategy to minimise its emissions footprint and operate efficient aircraft.
- With new passenger aircraft only expected to arrive in 2024, Emirates began its multi-billion dollar programme to retrofit 120 aircraft with its latest cabin interiors and products. The new product and customer initiatives will deliver on its ‘fly better’ promise: enhanced menus across all cabin classes. The 67 A380s will be completed by late May 2024 and 53 Boeing 777s will be retrofitted by March 2025. Starting in November 2022, 4 newly retrofitted A380 aircraft are expected to roll out from Emirates Engineering Centre each month.
- Enhancing menus across all cabin classes started in August 2022. First Class includes new offerings such as movie snacks, generous portions of caviar and champagne and more vegan options.
- The same entertainment programmes are available in all classes.
- Fleet utilisation
- Boeing 777s: All 145 Boeing 777s are in active service, including 11 freighters
- Airbus A380s: Nearly 70 of the 121 A380s are in active service as of August 2022, increasing to more than 90 by March 2023 and the aim is to bring all A380s back into the sky by Summer 2023 to the current 38 A380 destinations. This will expand to 42 airports by the end of March 2023.
- Emirates has on order: 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft to be delivered from August 2024 until 2027, and 150 Boeing 777X (of both -8 and -9 models) to be delivered from mid-2025 until 2031. These deliveries are later than initially scheduled due to delays by manufacturers, and rescheduled in agreement with the airline.
In August, Emirates launched its full Premium Economy experience to hugely positive, “booked-out” customer response on its flights to London, Paris and Sydney. The Premium Economy product will be extended on 5 more routes before the end of 2022-23, as more aircraft fitted with these popular seats roll out of its retrofit programme. Emirates is the only airline in the region to offer a Premium Economy service. It noticed very positive feedback and strong bookings for Premium Economy since it was launched as a full cabin product and experience on 1 August 2022.
Rebuilding global network connectivity and services
- Destinations: Emirates rebuilt its network in tandem with the easing of flight and travel restrictions. Today, it flies to more than 130 passenger destinations. This represents 92% of its pre-COVID route network.
- From 19 November onwards, Dubai will begin to see a surge in inbound traffic, including visitors for the myriad of winter events like those attending the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Traffic will be dense in December: As the region busies itself with winter visitors, iconic sporting events, UAE National Day and the upcoming festive season
- In January 2022, Emirates operated about 2,100 weekly departures network-wide, and by end of December, it is expecting to expand its flying schedule to about 2,900 weekly departures.
- Code-sharing: Emirates also expanded connectivity through codeshare partners. Its 26 airline codeshare partners expand its network reach to over 300 cities. New codeshare partnerships activated this year include:
- Garuda (from March), adding 8 points in Indonesia
- Royal Air Maroc (from May), increasing access to Morocco
- Airlink (from June), adding 8 points in South Africa
- Aegean (from August), adding 8 points in Greece
- United Airlines and Air Canada (from November)
- Gulf Air (from December)
- Emirates has had a strong partnership with flydubai over the 5 past years – 215 destinations and 250 codeshare flights. 11 million passengers have enjoyed the partnership over 5 years, including 8.5 million Skywards members. During the FIFA World Cup, flydubai operates 30 daily flights between Dubai World Central and Doha.
- Capacity recovery: Currently Emirates is operating at 74% of its pre-pandemic network capacity and plans to increase that to 80% by year-end.
Strong Dubai demand
- Dubai remains a highly popular destination for leisure and business, with its quality infrastructure and visa policies for international visitors, and an ever-growing list of attractions and activities for every visitor segment. In the first half of 2022, Dubai attracted over 7 million international visitors (up 183%). In that same 6-month period, Emirates airline flew in over 2.5 m passengers to Dubai.
- Around 55% of all Emirates customers that flew into Dubai in Q1 2022 were those that had made their first-ever booking on Emirates. 45% were repeat bookers. On average Emirates’ customers stayed for 14 days in Dubai, whereas last year the trip duration was 23 days.
- About during the time period, to explore the city and take advantage of Emirates’ attractive stopover programmes.
Global recruitment drive
- Emirates currently has 4,500 pilots and 17,500 cabin crew. The airline continues to look for candidates to join its multinational crew team: Emirates plans to hire 400 new pilots and up to 6,000 cabin crew by the middle of next year.
- Recruitment sessions are conducted in most destinations. Emirates had several sessions in Belgium which is one of the priority markets. Some criteria to be considered. These include that applicants are at least 21 years of age and have an arm reach of 212cm when standing on tiptoes.
- Emirates offers candidates outstanding career opportunities, with excellent training facilities and a broad range of development programmes for its employees. Cabin crew are offered an entire employment package, a variety of benefits such as a tax-free income, free high-standard shared accommodation in Dubai, free transport to/from work, medical and dental cover as well as exclusive discounts on shopping and leisure activities in Dubai. It also offers attractive concessional travel benefits for cabin crew as well as their families and friends, particularly advantageous
- Emirates SkyCargo announced a US$ 1 billion investment to expand its air cargo capacity, including 2 new 777Fs which have already joined the Emirates fleet in 2022
- Emirates Skycargo plans to convert 10 Boeing 777-300ERs into freighter aircraft. The aircraft conversion work is scheduled to begin in 2023.
- The 777F’s range and payload capabilities allow Emirates to efficiently transport time and temperature-sensitive shipments from origin to destination.
- Time-sensitive products: critical goods, fresh products, medicines, pets, cars or champion racehorses are also transported from Brussels or Liege airports.
- Emirates currently operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 777-200 freighters, in addition to belly-hold cargo capacity on its fleet of widebody 777 and A380 passenger aircraft.
- Emirates also announced a firm order of 5 new Boeing 777-200LR freighters, with 2 units to be delivered in 2024 and 3 in 2025
- Policy: Emirates is committed to environmentally-responsible operations. Emirates supports initiatives that contribute to the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Emirates is on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative, which seeks to promote SAF deployment worldwide..
- Emirates is working with GE and Boeing on a test flight program to fly an Emirates 777-300ER using 100% SAF later in 2022.
- Net zero: Emirates supports IATA’s collective industry commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and we are reviewing the opportunities that will contribute towards this goal. These opportunities include operational fuel efficiency, SAF, low carbon aviation fuels (LCAF) and renewable energy.
In Belgium, Emirates supports the ATP Tennis Tournament in Antwerp and the annual Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix, aligned with corporate engagements and sponsorship initiatives.