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Emirates to introduce new feature in flights this year

Emirates to introduce new feature in flights this year

Airline chairman refuses to disclose details

Dubai-based airline Emirates plans to introduce a new innovative feature onboard its aircraft this year, company chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum revealed on Tuesday.

“We will be introducing something different to the market by the end of this year or by early next year,” Sheikh Ahmed said in a discussion during the World Government Summit in Dubai.

But he refused to disclose any details about it.

Sheikh Ahmed asserted that the airline had set high standards of innovation in the past by launching features such as video screens on every seat and onboard showers. Emirates was the first airline in the world to introduce showers for first class passengers travelling on its A380 jumbo aircraft.

“We have to raise the bar all the time,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

The chairman also confirmed during the session that Emirates would begin flights to Auckland on March 1, marking an ultra-long haul route of 17 hours and 15 minutes.

A planned direct flight to Panama City – slated to become the longest route in the world at 17 hours and 35 minutes – was scheduled to start on February 1, but has now been delayed to March 31.

“When we think about planning any route, we don’t do it for publicity. The objective is to make money, serve the hub in a big way and also serve the region,” he said.

Talking about the economy, Sheikh Ahmed said 2016 was not expected to be a bad year for the airline. He reiterated that Emirates has benefitted from the drop in oil prices since it has not hedged any fuel.

“Fuel accounted for 46 – 48 per cent of total costs during peak oil prices and today it has dropped to the twenties. But we also have to strike a balance between fuel and currencies. We have seen a strong dollar but many currencies have not been doing very well in places such as Europe.

“Every airline has to come up with a formula and always adjust pricing, because in certain countries repatriation of funds is slow and can take up to a year or two. You have to build that into your numbers,” he explained.

Sheikh Ahmed also confirmed that Emirates was not currently seeking any acquisition or looking to join an alliance.

“We have 37 aircraft joining our fleet this year – why do we need to acquire anyone else?,” he said.

The Dubai airline marked 30 years of operations in 2015 and launched six new points last year, expanding its network to 150 destinations worldwide.

Emirates also received 26 aircraft last year, retaining its position as the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 and the jumbo Airbus A380.

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