The top executive at Dubai-based Emirates airline said Monday it expects Airbus 380 flights company returns to New York in the first six months of 2010 due to passenger demand should recover by then.
The airline began service to New York for the double-decker plane in April last year, but withdrew two months later and replaced with the smaller Boeing 777. Emirates has expanded its network as demand sank into recession, especially in the U.S.
United currently has five A380s in its fleet.
CEO Tim Clark said in an interview with The Associated Press that the company is interested in expanding to other U.S. cities as Washington, Seattle, Boston and Chicago. But Clark does not expect the airline will add new destinations in the U.S. in the short term.
“(History) has hardened our gut reactions,” said Clark.
Clark said the airline has been filling planes in other U.S. cities it serves, including Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But it is kept in check the number of flights to the cities because the demand has been so smooth.
The airline has also closely followed the size of aircraft used on certain ports, the choice to replace larger aircraft – like the A380 – with the smallest to maintain occupancy rates during the recession.
But the company continues to grow despite Emirates’ passenger numbers worldwide have increased by about 21 percent since this time last year, Clark said.
Clark told the AP in June that the Arab world’s largest airline to remain profitable for the year to next March, even after its net profit last fiscal year fell 72 percent.
“The U.S. is coming along, but not as fast as Europe and Asia,” said Clark.
The International Air Transport Association, said Thursday that world passenger demand fell 2.9 percent in July, indicating that demand is improving but still has not recovered.
And as the demand is beginning to show signs of recovery, the UAE has begun to raise fares again, Clark said, although rates are still a discount of up to 50 percent on some routes.
Emirates serves nearly 100 destinations in 60 countries. It plans to launch the service from its hub in Dubai to Durban, South Africa on 1 October in Luanda, Angola, on 25 October. The company has 128 airliners in service, with 123 in the order – worth more than $ 52 million.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.