Dubai-based Emirates expects to fly a whopping 70 million passengers in 2020, according to the airline’s president Tim Clark.
The airline and its partners are “already progressing” on plans to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support this growth, he said.
His comments came during a presentation to delegates of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), who visited the UAE to make their final decision about Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020.
“By 2020, we will have more than 250 aircraft serving some 70 million passengers across six continents. It will make us the largest airline on the planet by international passenger traffic,” said Clark.
“However, being the biggest airline in the world is not really the end goal. Our aim has always been to connect travellers from around the world to Dubai, and other destinations with just a single stop via our hub,” he added.
Currently, Emirates operates nearly 3,200 flights globally per week to 135 destinations in 76 countries. Since January 2012, it has launched new services to 20 destinations and plans to add three new routes – Conakry, Sialkot and Kabul before the end of this year.
The airline is also the largest operator of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, with an order book for 53 and 64 more of each aircraft type respectively. By 2020, it will have over 250 aircraft in its all-wide body fleet.
“We plan for the long-term and these plans include working closely with our stakeholders in Dubai including Dubai Airports and the GCAA amongst others, to make sure the right infrastructure is in place to support our planned fleet and traffic growth,” said Clark.
“We collaborate on every aspect of operations, from technical things like air space and stand operations, to the customer experience such as terminal facilities and efficient processing at check-in.”
International passenger numbers in Dubai International Airport have grown from 47.2 million in 2010 to 57 million last year. Dubai hopes to welcome 20 million passengers in 2020.
The airport opened Terminal 3 dedicated to Emirates’ operations in 2008, and recently opened a new Concourse A for Emirates’ A380 operations.
Work is also underway at Dubai airport on a Concourse D to expand handling capability for the other airlines operating international flights, which is due for completion in 2015.
The emirate’s new Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC) will also begin passenger flights on October 27. When fully operational, it will have the capacity to handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.