Dubai Airshow 2023: Response to premium economy class is beyond expectations, says Emirates chief

Dubai’s flagship carrier launched its full premium economy offering onboard and on the ground in the middle of last year


Waheed Abbas

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Photos: Shihab/KT
Photos: Shihab/KT

Published: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 8:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 9:10 PM

The response to the Emirates airline’s premium economy class has been beyond expectations, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

Dubai’s flagship carrier launched its full premium economy offering onboard and on the ground in the middle of last year, offering luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offerings. The airline has introduced this class to many destinations across the globe, with the latest being India.

“Premium economy numbers achieved so far are beyond our expectations. We will continue to see it on different routes within Emirates as more aircraft are equipped with that,” Sheikh Ahmed said while speaking during a press briefing on the second day of the Dubai Airshow 2023.

He said the biggest international carrier will continue with the first class and there will be two, three and four classes.

On Monday, the flagship carrier announced a mammoth deal with US aircraft maker Boeing for an additional 95 widebody aircraft worth $52 billion (Dh191 billion).

Emirates airline’s profit for the first half of 2023-24 also hit a new record of Dh9.4 billion as compared to the same period last year’s profit of Dh4 billion. Emirates revenue, including other operating income, of Dh59.5 billion was up 19 per cent as compared with the Dh50.1 billion recorded in the same period last year. The airline’s record performance is attributable to the strong passenger demand for international travel across markets and Emirates’ ability to activate capacity to match demand; and offer customers great value and services.

Emirates chief said the aircraft orders announced on the first day of the Airshow 2023 will help achieve Dubai’s D33 strategy.

More seats to India good for the market

In reply to a query about increasing flights to India, he added that there are no extra seats as the quota agreed between the UAE and India remained the same. “We hope that more seats to be given as that would be good for the market.”

Emirates last month debuted its premium economy offering on the India route on its four-class A380 aircraft. Currently, Dubai and India are some of the world's busiest corridors and increasing flights will boost bilateral traffic.

With regard to a question about the initial public offering, he reiterated that the Dubai government — the owner of the airline — will take a call on it. Dubai Government has announced a list of 10 companies on the Dubai Financial Market to boost its market capitalization to Dh3 trillion.

Dubai Taxi IPO was the latest entity to announce its intention to go public earlier this week. The company plans to sell 624.75 million shares and list on the Dubai Financial Market. The company priced each share at a nominal value of Dh0.04, representing 24.99 per cent of Dubai Taxi Company’s total issued share capital.

Impact of the Middle East war

While commenting on the impact of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sheikh Ahmed stated that all businesses want a safe and calm environment.

“War helps nobody. It is very sad what we see around us. We see there is a small effect and we will hope that it will not continue and they will find a solution,” he said, adding that he cannot quantify the impact as the airline reported record profit.

“We did so good in the first 6 months and the next 6 months should also be good.”

He reiterated that the Gulf market can accommodate more airlines, just like other markets in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia.

He ruled out buying stakes in other airlines.

He also hoped there would be no delays in deliveries from the aircraft manufacturer.


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