We will be the largest airline in the world: Emirates
08/28/2007|9:36:00 AM|2007-08-28  eTravelBlackboardAsia
Emirates continues to pursue its aggressive global growth, and has recently announced that it would be looking at financing around USD50 billion from now until 2017 in a bid to expand its fleet to become the largest airline in the world.

Already Emirates is the largest buyer of the Airbus A380 with 55 orders earmarked for their fleet; altogether Emirates is expected delivery of over a hundred planes before 2012, with a market value of about USD30 billion.

In terms of further orders Gary Chapman, Emirates Group Services President has been reported saying, “Over the next decade I´d say we´ll need between US$30 billion and US$50 billion of financing.”

To date, the carrier has raised altogether in the vicinity of USD12 billion in financing for fleet expansion, and currently it is estimated that Emirates still has around USD3 billion in loans.

As to why the carrier needs all the extra planes, it has once again shown its hand in its interest in expanding its services from the Middle East to Asia with the launch of a second daily service from Dubai-Shanghai.

The new service is set to launch on the 1st of February, 2008, and was added due to the large demand for the single service ever since launch in April 2004 with loads often above 90%.

“We are confident that the second service to Shanghai will taste the same phenomenal success given our experience; the continued dominance of the Chinese economy; and Shanghai’s increasing appeal to business and leisure travellers from around Emirates’ worldwide network,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide.

“We are seeing a sharp increase in demand since the UAE and Chinese governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate travel for Chinese tourist groups to the UAE.”

Currently Shanghai is an international hub that most carriers want to lay a stake in, whether it be for outbound or inbound tourism.  With economic and cultural appeal, the centre is leading much of the Chinese growth.

In recent years both economic and tourism ties between the UAE and China have grown even stronger, with last year’s results seeing China now becoming the country from which Dubai imports the most goods – taking the spot away from traditional trading partner India.