Emirates: Fascinating, fast-rising, global airline brand

HARARE - Global aviation, for nearly the past half-century was dominated by the colourful, imperial, “On Her Majesty’s Service” British Airways.

Who would ever forget their stunning Boeing 747-400 fleet (55-strong today and the largest such jumbo-jet fleet in the world).

We will not even mention the magical sprinkling of the supersonic aviation icon; the 7-aircraft-strong Concorde fleet that flew superbly for 27 years, magnifying the aura of the general fascination with the airline affectionately recognised worldwide as “BA”.

Cruelly, one supersonic airliner in Air France livery, cataclysmically crashed in 2000, after a stroke of heartbreaking bad luck. In the grounding lethargy of the post-911 era, toxic contagion from the Paris crash spelt doom for everything-Concorde and removed much-shine from BA.

One fine day, Concorde actually flew to Zimbabwe; on October 31 in 1993, providing a rare visual-and-sound spectacle for aircraft enthusiasts as the elegant, Olympus-powered beast lifted out of Runway 05 at FVHA.

Indeed, the older generations remember the “World’s Favourite Airline!”; a tag which accompanied BA’s fancy adverts for years.

“Speedbird” (BA’s call-sign) was to share a long-running world dominance with Air France, Australia’s Qantas, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa of Germany etc.

British Airways, according to Airliners.net is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. The alliance was now the third-largest, after SkyTeam and Star Alliance.

Insane competition in the air industry over the years birthed these self-preserving cartels.

American carriers; Delta, Pan Am, American etc. provided BA with stiff competition on the lucrative Atlantic crossing. A new-kid-on-the-block, from an unlikely end-of-the-world, suddenly appeared in 1985, and would soon knock Speedbird off her majestic perch.

Emirates Airlines’ entry changed the aviation business by stupendously raising the sophistication of flying. Inspired by their swanky “Hello Tomorrow” slogan, Emirates has easily become, one of the world’s most-recognised (airline) brands.

They lead an “uprising” of Asian/Arab airlines that have exponentially grown in recent years, backed by petro-dollars whose per-barrel prices shot through the roof in recent years, leaving the emirate states to splash-about, deep in USD! (Thankfully for the rest-of-the-world, oil prices, just like an aircraft, in recent days, have obeyed the everything-that-goes-up-must-come-down law!)

EK have assembled a huge fleet of hundreds of aircraft — and still growing.

That fancy fleet consists of the behemoth wide-body, double-deck Airbus A380, an aircraft so huge it creates a false perception to the eye that it’s flying too slowly, when taking off or landing. Emirates operate 57 such aircraft, more than anyone else.

The modern fleet consists mainly of wide-body aircraft, including the Airbus A330, A340, Boeing 777, as well as Boeing 747-400 freighters operated by Emirates SkyCargo.

Their only narrow-body aircraft is an Airbus A319CJ, for Emirates Executive charters. They strictly maintain a young 6-year-old fleet. According to Flight Radar, Emirates enjoy the highest aircraft utilisation in the industry, at 13-15 hours daily!

Would you believe that each A380 costs a cool $350-$500M in real USD?

The cost depends largely on the avionics package, the interior design, and what I would call the level of madness of “special work” installation for the buyer!

In Zimbabwe, $500M; or $0.5B is a crazy number to outlay on only one aircraft! Let’s break it down; that sum would instantly clear Air Zimbabwe’s debt, and additionally, acquire up to 10 new Bombardier Q400 aircrafts!

Now, please work the astonishing Arithmetic again; Emirates will take delivery of 20 A380s this year with nearly 100 A380s on order! And they already enjoyed 57 of these graceful monsters on their books! Truly, Emirates belong to their own premier league.

The award-winning Emirates offer unprecedented comfort and service, delivered by what I would flatteringly rate, the “most-exciting” and diverse cabin crew ever-assembled in aviation, representing over 130 nationalities!

Closer to home, according to a press release by leading publicity agents, Langmead and Baker, Emirates has been inspiring travel and facilitating trade between Zimbabwe, Zambia and the world since 2012. Its daily direct flights from Lusaka to Harare and to Dubai connect the two nations to over 140 destinations globally.

Worldwide, the Emirates Group, will hire an incredible 11 000 new staff this year across its business!

“This will increase staff size by six percent by 2016. Half of the recruits will comprise Dubai-based cabin crew.

“Skilled candidates can anticipate a truly-international and multi-cultural working environment, as well as good career prospects.

“Our brand, our financial success and stability make Emirates an attractive employer for top talent,” says the Emirates Group, who employ 75 000 staff worldwide.

Through their widespread support of elite sports and other events, they have enhanced their footprint globally. Emirates sponsor music, rugby, soccer and tennis.

They officially partner the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Cricket provides a powerful platform for the airline to connect with fans across Asia, Australasia, Africa and the UK.

It can’t; trying to compress the gargantuan world of the fascinating, rising, global airline brand; Emirates, into one newspaper column; will try a whole book!

Happy landings aviators!

*Maguire (africa.aviator@gmail.com) is a trained pilot who enthusiastically scans the global aviation industry.

Comments (1)

Interesting Article Jerry! It looks like Emirates leases the aircraft from the Airbus Group. The cheaper oil allows it to have a lower operating cost per seat mile than most legacy carriers.

Nyasha Gutsa - 23 February 2015

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