Emirates vows to keep air fares ‘competitive’ in wake of coronavirus crisis

Published: 21 July 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: Gavin Gibbon

Dubai's Emirates airline has vowed its pricing policy will remain "competitive" as the carrier gradually returns to levels of normality following the Covid-19-enforced grounding of most of its fleet for almost three months.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that airlines are in line to make a combined net loss of more than $84 billion this year in the wake of the pandemic crisis, the biggest in the industry's history.

However, Boutros Boutros, divisional senior vice president, corporate communications, marketing & brand, Emirates Group, told the recent Ai Everything conference in Dubai that the airline is currently focused on providing a service in the pandemic.

He said: “I can say our prices are very competitive. Obviously you will realise that Emirates is not looking at this stage at making money. We are looking at providing a service, which started at the beginning of the pandemic with repatriation flights - we even brought people for free.

“Prices, of course, the market dictates the price, but of course the cost is much higher. With the restriction of travel across the globe which is still going on, it becomes very difficult to fill an aircraft.”

The Middle East's largest carrier, which operates a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft, halted operations in late March as part of global shutdowns to stem the spread of the virus.

As a result, Emirates airline has cut a tenth of its workforce during the novel coronavirus pandemic in layoffs that could rise to 15 percent, or 9,000 jobs, president Sir Tim Clark said earlier this month.

Low prices

Emirates returned its iconic Airbus A380 aircraft to the skies last week and currently flies to over 50 destinations, compared to about 157 before the crisis.

However, Boutros said: “Over 50 destinations doesn’t mean the same frequencies as we used to travel before. We are trying to provide a service at a really minimal cost on us and a minimum cost on passengers.

“To be honest, our prices are still very low in comparison to our costs.”

Source: Arabian Business

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