On Thursday, Emirates Airlines COO Adel Al-Rheda told CNBC that the state carrier expects to resume flights to all 143 “network destinations” by next summer. “We can easily say, by summer (2021), we’ll be serving 100% of our network destinations,” he said, noting “the frequency of flights depending on demand.”
The Dubai-based airline grounded its fleet of 270 aircraft at the end of March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As travel restrictions continue to easy since deconfinement, Emirates Airlines has resumed servicing 72 destinations, around half of the cities it was flying to pre-Covid, and expects to add three global destinations over the next month: Houston (August 23), Birmingham (September 1), and Warsaw (September 4).
However, Nice-Dubai and Paris-Dubai are still not operating.
Al-Redha stated. “If I compare our performance now with a month ago, we have almost doubled the number of passengers we have been carrying on board our aircraft,” adding that passenger numbers in July and August have been “better than what we have expected earlier.”
The same cannot be said for Australia’s flag carrier Qantas, whose chief executive told CNBC, “The airline expects only 50% of international operations to return by the middle of 2022.”
This is inline with the outlook of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who reported at the end of July that global passenger traffic will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.
“June 2020 passenger traffic foreshadowed the slower-than-expected recovery. Traffic fell 86.5% compared to the year-ago period. That is only slightly improved from a 91.0% contraction in May. This was driven by rising demand in domestic markets, particularly China. The June load factor set an all-time low for the month at 57.6%,” said IATA.