Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, concluded 2019 with a successful string of product, network, and customer experience highlights.
Remarking on 2019’s milestones and highlights, Sir Tim Clark, Emirates Airline president, said: “2019 was a year of recalibration in terms of our fleet and network plans, when it became clear that the A380 programme will cease. Emirates’ dynamic approach to capacity deployment – during the southern runway renovation at Dubai International, as well as in response to the capricious forces of politics and socio-economics throughout the year – demonstrated our agility and yielded results.”
Commenting on Emirates’ outlook for 2020, he added: “In 2020, we’ll continue to leverage our partnerships to provide even more connectivity and value for our customers. And we look forward to welcoming the world to Dubai for Expo2020, where we will showcase the future of aviation at the Emirates Pavilion.”
In the 12 months since January 2019, the airline has carried close to 58 million passengers on its modern and efficient fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Emirates operated over 3,500 flights on average per week, or over 186,000 flights in 2019, travelling more than 885 million kilometres around the globe, which is the distance equivalent of more than 2,300 trips to the moon and back. The airline served nearly 63 million meals on its flights departing Dubai and handled over 35 million pieces of baggage in Dubai alone.
The airline reinforced its global network of 159 destinations in 2019, with the addition of three new passenger routes: Dubai to Phnom Penh via Bangkok, facilitating a new connection between Cambodia and Thailand; a non-stop service to Porto, the airline’s second destination in Portugal; and most recently, a new service to Mexico City via Barcelona.
In addition, Emirates uplifted frequencies and upgraded capacity to 12 points within its network. Emirates also expanded customer choice, connectivity and convenience by growing its partnerships. The airline ended 2019 with 26 codeshare partners and 156 interline partners in 200 countries, extending its network by over 1,800 unique destinations.
More biometric technology will be rolled out in 2020
Emirates and flydubai marked two years of successful partnership, carrying more than six million passengers on their joint networks to and through Dubai since 2017. Emirates’ passengers benefit from seamless connectivity, accessing 94 destinations on the flydubai network, while flydubai passengers can also access 143 Emirates destinations.
Emirates expanded its A380 network with the introduction of scheduled services to Riyadh, Cairo and Muscat. The Emirates A380 also operated seasonal services during the summer to Boston and Amman, offering more customers the opportunity to experience its flagship aircraft.
At the Dubai Airshow 2019, Emirates placed an order for 50 A350-900 XWB aircraft and confirmed a full purchase agreement for 30 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. In line with its long-standing strategy to operate modern and efficiency wide-body aircraft, the airline’s latest US$ 24.8 billion investment in its future fleet will expand its operational flexibility in terms of capacity and range and allow it to further develop its network proposition beyond 2020.
Placing customers at the heart of its business, Emirates delivered another year of trendsetting product and service initiatives to provide an unmatched travel experience in the air and on the ground. In April 2019, the airline completed its $150 million refurbishment of 10 Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, offering a two-class cabin with wider Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 format and a fully refreshed Economy Class cabin.
Emirates’ customers continue to be spoilt for choice with over 4,500 channels on Ice – the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system, which clinched its 15th consecutive Skytrax win in 2019 for Best Inflight Entertainment as well as its third consecutive APEX Passenger Choice award for Best Entertainment.
In 2019, Emirates elevated the inflight entertainment experience by introducing playlist synching. Emirates invests over $27 million annually to operate inflight connectivity systems, serving the expectations of modern travellers.
Emirates launched its first remote check-in terminal outside of the airport, to provide smooth connections for cruise passengers in Dubai. These Emirates check-in counters, located at Port Rashid, allow passengers who are disembarking from their cruise ships to check in for their onward Emirates flight and enjoy a hassle-free stopover visit in the city.
Emirates launched biometric boarding and facial recognition technology at its departure gates for customers flying from Dubai to any of its 12 destinations in the US, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. More biometric technology will be rolled out in 2020, in coordination with partners at Dubai International airport.
The Emirates app has become one of the top airline apps with nearly two million active users, and is available in 19 languages including Arabic, allowing users to search, book and manage their flights.
In 2019, Emirates continued to support sports and culture through extensive global sponsorships. Throughout 2019, Emirates commissioned eight bespoke aircraft liveries to highlight significant events and showcase its partnerships to a global audience. Marking the 48th UAE National Day and the UAE Year of Tolerance, Emirates wrapped up the year with a Guinness World Records for most nationalities on an aircraft.