Emirates doesn’t see travel recovery until year-end

Dubai - Clark said he expected governments would continue to close borders and place restrictions on international travel until they get a better understanding of how to deal with the new variants



The comments from Tim Clark represent a more pessimistic view after he told Reuters last month he did not believe the recovery would be further impeded by a new wave of infections and restrictions. — File photo
The comments from Tim Clark represent a more pessimistic view after he told Reuters last month he did not believe the recovery would be further impeded by a new wave of infections and restrictions. — File photo

By Reuters

Published: Wed 10 Feb 2021, 6:46 PM

International travel is likely to remain subdued until the end of the year as countries reintroduce tough restrictions to control Covid-19 infections, the head of Dubai-based airline Emirates said on Wednesday.

The comments from Tim Clark represent a more pessimistic view after he told Reuters last month he did not believe the recovery would be further impeded by a new wave of infections and restrictions.

“It is going to take longer than I would have hoped and I think probably we are going to see some difficulties. We are not going to see capacity return that I hoped in July and August, I think, maybe (it will return) in the last quarter this year,” Clark told a virtual summit by aviation consultancy CAPA.

Britain this week announced passengers arriving from certain countries would have to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for 10 days, a similar system to Australia.

Clark, who has delayed his retirement to tackle the coronavirus crisis, said countries like Britain had taken “fairly draconian positions” with regards to international travel.

The British government has said the stronger measures are needed to prevent new variants of the virus from thwarting its rapid vaccination programme.

Britain in January reimposed quarantine restrictions on travellers from the United Arab Emirates as cases in the Gulf state rapidly increased.

Clark said he expected governments would continue to close borders and place restrictions on international travel until they get a better understanding of how to deal with the new variants.

The 71-year-old, a respected industry veteran, has throughout the crisis tended to be more bullish about a rebound than many of his peers.

Unlike some other airlines, Emirates lacks a domestic market to cushion it against the downturn in international travel.

777x deliveries unlikely before Q1 2024

Emirates Airlines President Tim Clark said on Wednesday Boeing’s 777x jet was unlikely to be delivered before the first quarter of 2024.

Boeing has been developing the widebody jet, a new version of its 777 series, with the goal of releasing it in late 2023, already three years later than planned.

“The 777x was due to come in June of last year, Now it’s unlikely to be, I think, before the first quarter of 2024,” Clark told a virtual summit by aviation consultancy CAPA.

A Boeing spokeswoman told Reuters the planemaker still anticipated 777x deliveries to start in late 2023.

The 777X will be the first major jet to be certified since software flaws in two Boeing 737 MAX planes caused fatal crashes and prompted accusations of cozy relations between the company and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The certification process of the new jet is expected to be longer and costlier after scrutiny of the 737 MAX, which was grounded for almost two years following the fatal crashes.

Emirates originally ordered 150 of the 777X series, which seats up to 406 people, and now has 126 on order. Analysts say the Covid-19 crisis has clouded the demand outlook for such big jets.

The plane was originally due to enter service with Emirates in June 2020. — Reuters


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