Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, rounded off another year of growth in 2016, underlined by fleet and network expansion, as well as customer focused product investments.
Commenting on 2016, Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “Consumer appetite for travel has remained resilient, despite socio-economic and political headwinds around the globe, and that is reflected in our operational growth. Emirates will continue on our strategy of organic growth, leveraging on the geo-centricity of the UAE, and Dubai’s dynamic developments in tourism and commerce. We will also continue to invest in our product and services so as to offer our customers an outstanding experience and value proposition while they discover the world.”
An all Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet
Emirates scaled up its fleet in 2016 with the addition of 36 new aircraft, consisting of 20 A380s, 16 Boeing 777-300ERs, while retiring 29 older aircraft. The airline concluded the year with 255 aircraft in service, with an average age of 5.0 years, significantly below the industry average of over 11 years.
Keeping its fleet young not only minimises Emirates’ overall carbon footprint, but it also enables the airline to put the latest products and services onboard its aircraft.
In April, Emirates placed an order for two additional A380 aircraft, taking its total A380 order book to 142, cementing its position as the world’s largest operator of the popular double-decker aircraft.
In November Emirates became the only airline to operate an all Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet, further elevating the passenger experience onboard through a modern, state-of-the-art wide-body fleet.
Emirates also began taking delivery of its newest generation Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The new Airbus A380 has several notable new features including an enhanced seat configuration in Economy Class, and a higher ceiling in the Business Class Cabin for a more spacious feel. Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ERs delivered from November also feature the airline’s new Business Class seat.
Expanded network footprint
Emirates unlocked seven new passenger points and one cargo destination in 2016, rounding off the year with 154 destinations in its global network. The airline’s new passenger services in 2016 were: Cebu and Clark in the Philippines, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou in China, Yangon in Myanmar, Hanoi in Vietnam, Fort Lauderdale in the US and cargo-only destination Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
Emirates also expanded its A380 network to 44 destinations with the addition of 8 new points. Today it operates the longest A380 service in the world from Dubai to Auckland, and also the world’s shortest A380 service to Doha. During the year, Emirates also led one-off A380 services to two destinations – Chicago in the US, and Amman in Jordan.
Customer experience investments
Emirates was named World’s Best Airline 2016 at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, and in the past year, the airline continued to work hard to deliver memorable experiences for its customers. The airline invested in a series of product developments and service enhancements, both in the air and on the ground.
This year, Emirates unveiled its enhanced Business Class seat on its Boeing 777 aircraft, taking comfort and design to new heights. Amongst the most recognisable features of the new seat is the pitch of 72 inches that can be moved into a fully flat 180 degree sleeping position, a personal mini-bar, as well as one of the industry’s largest personal TV screens at 23 inches with the ability to stream personal mobile content.
Emirates continued to strengthen its in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering. With the airline now operating an all-Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet, this means customers on all Emirates flights can access on-demand entertainment with up to 2,600 channels of movies, music, TV shows, games and more, to choose from. In October, Emirates signed an agreement with Thales to equip its Boeing 777X fleet with the Thales AVANT in-flight entertainment system, debuting in mid-2020.