Emirates Airline, the largest airline in the Middle East, has become a major global carrier. It’s been an extremely profitable airline since its inception with only one year without a profit. The overall performance of the airline is astonishing. It sets the trend in many respects – on board the airline’s A380s, first class passengers will be able to take a shower. (However, the weight of the additional water is a problem in times of soaring jet fuel prices and this prompted Emirates to find ways of how to trim down the weight of the aircraft. The airline considers to reduce the amount of paper on board by abandoning magazines and advertisement papers.) Besides, Emirates’ expansion course causes rivals to shiver. The airline has had a steady growth rate of 20% since it began operations and its very young fleet of wide-body aircraft is growing with an unprecedented pace. Emirates will have the largest fleet of A380s which is of advantage as first, the A380 is a very efficient aircraft and second, Emirates operating superjumbos on its major destinations enables the carrier to transport even more passengers. On August 1st, the A380 will enter nonstop service between Dubai and New York.
Today, Emirates took delivery of its first superjumbo (of 58) at Airbus’ A380 delivery center in Hamburg, Germany. Emirates’ CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said at the ceremony: “Emirates was quick to recognise the potential of Airbus’ all new A380 design, with its large double-deck capacity and excellent operating economics. It will be one of the pillars of Emirates’ future. With its very low fuel burn and quietness, the A380 also sets new standards in environmental performance. It will definitely help air transportation and Emirates grow, while reducing the impact on the environment.”
Delighting Airubs’ CEO Thomas Enders, Sheikh Ahmed signed a letter of intent to buy 60 more long-haul Airbus planes – 30 A330-300s and 30 A350s. Emirates appears to be resistant to soaring jet fuel prices. According to its chief executive, its fleet will grow from currently 119 aircraft to 200 by 2012 and 450 by 2020. This success can be in part accounted to the effective business model of the carrier. It has very low operating costs due to the use of efficient planes, only few different types of aircraft which are all long-haul aircraft, a cheap workforce and perfect conditions at its hub in Dubai where low airport charges, day and night operations as well as a ban of strikes are a beneficial environment for an airline.
The German carrier Lufthansa, in contrast, suffers right now from a strike of ground personnel and flight crews who are pushing for an unjustifiable wage increase of almost 10%. The irresponsible unions apparently don’t realize that there’s definitely not been a worse point in time in recent years to demand such an inadequate wage increase. The aviation industry faces an unprecedented crisis with the sky-rocketed costs of jet fuel threatening the very survival of many airlines, most airlines generate billion dollar losses and to make matters worse, the EU decided to include airlines operating in Europe into its emissions trading scheme which drives up operating costs even further instead of creating a Single European Sky that’d save immediately costs and CO2 emissions. (The EU decided to include airlines operating in Europe into emissions trading overburdening an industry already struggling)
The high level of energy prices does not only threaten the transportation sector, but the entire economy. Exports become more expensive with the shipping costs of a container having more than doubled in recent years. Rising energy prices also fuel inflation. Consequently, consumer confidence goes down. The market research group GfK reported that consumer sentiment in Germany has fallen to a five-year low according to a recent survey.