Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, delivered another year of trendsetting product and service initiatives across its fleet and network to make ‘flying better’ for its customers.
In the last twelve months, Emirates carried over 59* million passengers on over 3,700 passenger flights on average per week. The airline proudly served a diverse menu of over 66 million meals on its flights departing Dubai*, and moved close to 36 million pieces of baggage* in Dubai to its global network of 157 destinations. In 2018, Emirates operated over 192,000 flights, with its fleet of 274 aircraft travelling more than 908 million kilometres around the globe.
Reflecting on 2018’s milestones, Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates airline said: “Our ambitions have always been driven by a commitment to continual improvement – to make the customer experience better, and to make our business operations more efficient.
“We had our challenges in 2018, however we continued to maximise opportunities by deploying our capacity to best serve customer demand, keeping a close watch on our costs, utilising technology to improve business performance, as well as developing more customer-centric products and services to provide our passengers with greater choice. Our customers remain at the heart of everything we do, and our continual investments in the business will be the foundation on which we will build our future growth and continue to deliver solid results.”
Making the air travel experience better for customers
The year began with Emirates setting out on a US$150 million programme to refurbish its Boeing 777-200LR fleet. These 10 newly refurbished aircraft are set in a two-class configuration offering 38 Business Class seats with wider seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, and 264 seats in Economy Class. The revamp also brought airier and more spacious cabins throughout the aircraft.
Emirates is now planning for the next generation cabin design of its Boeing 777X programme. On its new generation A380s entering service from 2020 onwards, Emirates is planning the deployment of its Premium Economy product, featuring a bespoke design and an array of experience-rich touches.
In March, Emirates celebrated 10 years of mobile connectivity onboard as it continues to be at the forefront of innovation with inflight connectivity and entertainment. During 2018, over 12 million passengers connected to Wi-Fi onboard Emirates. Over the summer, football fans eagerly cheered on their national teams during the FIFA World Cup onboard 175 Emirates aircraft equipped with Live TV. In 2019, 50 more aircraft will be retrofitted with Live TV, providing even more choice for customers to watch live sports, breaking news and much more.
In addition, Emirates now offers over 1,000 movies as part of its over 4,000 channel selection on ice, its award-winning in-flight entertainment system. The most popular movie onboard Emirates in 2018 was Black Panther, while the majority of passengers enjoyed comedy of all genres on offer.
Ice continues to win accolades with its 14th consecutive World’s Best Inflight Entertainment award at the 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards.
Delivering the best culinary experience for customers, Emirates has been building on its already popular special menus and dishes marking occasions including Ramadan, Lunar New Year, amongst others.
During the busy summer period, Emirates delighted families with a new ‘Fly With Me’ animal toy selection, and new Lonely Planet activity kits for children. Travellers passing through Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai were also treated to complimentary cups of ice-cream.
Enhancing the ground experience
Emirates introduced Home Check-in in April, a new service allowing customers in Dubai to check in for their flights from the comfort of their own homes, hotel or office, and have their luggage transported prior to their flight. So far, over 6,000 bags have been checked in for customers using this service.
Working closely with stakeholders, Emirates announced it will soon launch the world’s first ‘biometric path’ offering customers a smooth and seamless airport journey at the airline’s hub in Dubai International airport. Utilising the latest in biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers will in the upcoming months be able to check-in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, by simply walking through different airport touchpoints.
In line with its ‘fly better’ brand promise, Emirates is bringing in a brand new fleet of high tech buses for airside passenger operations, with a full fleet of 128 buses to be operational by 2020 . These dedicated buses will ferry Emirates’ passengers between terminals and its aircraft at remote stands in greater comfort.
Making connectivity better
Emirates boosted choice and connectivity for customers in 2018. As the airline received new aircraft, four new routes were launched, frequencies were added to 20 destinations, and capacity to eight cities was upgraded.
Emirates hit two fleet milestones in 2018, celebrating 10 years of A380 operations in August, and taking delivery of its last Boeing 777-300ER, its 146th in December.
In January, the airline announced a US$ 16 billion (AED 58.7 billion) deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, to be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards. Emirates also expanded the number of cities served by its popular A380 aircraft to 50 destinations with recent launch of scheduled services to Hamburg and Osaka. The airline also led one-off A380 services to five cities: Beirut, Muscat, Islamabad, Riyadh and Accra, and temporary services to St. Petersburg.
*Flight figures are for the 2018 calendar year
*Catering figures cover meals loaded at Dubai International only. This does not include meals loaded at other destinations
*Baggage figures cover Dubai International only