Emirates recently rounded off another year of growth in 2016, underlining fleet and network expansion with 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.”
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 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.
Last year, 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.
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.
Emirates continues 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 also enhanced 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.
Reflecting the increasingly connected digital lifestyle, over 8.8 million Emirates passengers connected to Wi-Fi on board in 2016. In addition, more than 400,000 phone calls were made in-flight, and 1.7 million sms messages were transmitted by passengers.
For its premium passengers, Emirates rolled out a range of enhancements onboard with luxury in mind. New additions in First Class included the world’s first moisturising lounge wear designed for an airline, keeping skin hydrated during the flight. New blankets were introduced including plush faux sheep-skin blankets for First Class and soft duvets for Business Class passengers.
Emirates also partnered with VOYA luxury spa products for its passengers to enjoy in its signature shower spa, dedicated lounge bathrooms and First and Business Class washrooms. In addition, Emirates and luxury Italian brand Bvlgari redesigned the airline’s exclusive amenity kit bags by giving them a sleek, modern look. So far in 2016, 2.75 million First and Business Class amenity kits have been distributed on Emirates flights.
Focusing on seasonal and regional flavours, Emirates also unveiled a new Japanese menu for First Class and Business Class passengers during the year. For the festive season, a special menu was introduced across all classes to capture the flavours of the holidays.
In Economy Class, Emirates launched the world’s first interactive amenity kit to provide a more comfortable travel experience. The stylish new amenity kits utilised augmented reality (AR) technology to unlock immersive content on mobile devices. Young travellers continued to be delighted with the second range of onboard toys, and more than 3 million toys have been distributed so far this year.
On the ground, investments continued in upgrading the lounge experience. Emirates this year completed a US$ 11 million refurbishment of its Business Class lounge at Concourse B in Dubai, which now includes a barista experience, a health hub with Voss water, and an exclusive Moët & Chandon champagne lounge. The airline also extended its dedicated lounge network with the opening of its lounge in Cape Town.
Emirates also began offering customers greater flexibility to check in for their flights by extending check-in in times from 24 hours to 48 hours.
Building on the strength of its loyalty programmes, the airline’s frequent flyer programme Emirates Skywards marked a milestone of 16 million members by launching Cash+Miles. The innovative flight redemption programme allowed members to redeem a combination of cash and Skywards Miles on any Emirates flight, reducing the cost of tickets and making any seat available for members. The airline also revamped its corporate loyalty programme, Emirates Business Rewards, delivering a more competitive and easier redemption process for flights as well as upgrades at any time for businesses.
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