Emirates A380
On board an Emirates A380... The Dubai airline will bring back these jumbo aircraft to full operational speed once demand sustains itself, by summer/autumn of 2021. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Emirates Group President Tim Clark has said it is not easy for the Dubai-based airline to fly its A380s given the current condition of the aviation market.

“We keep about 15 or 20 flying every week as best we can - it's not particularly easy given the conditionality that we face with regard to access to most of the markets,” said Clark during the virtually held Arabian Travel Market conference.

Clark said the carrier was getting the Airbus-made jumbo-jets into a “state of readiness” for when demand shows some kind of recovery in the summer or autumn of this year. “The crews have gradually returned and the aircraft have been prepared by our engineering groups to go into action as soon as we get the green light.”

Flydubai partnership

Emirates and flydubai are expected to have a combined network of 168 destinations by the end of May - speeding up Dubai's full-fledged return as a travel and tourism hub. Since the revival of the airlines' codeshare partnership in September 2020, close to 500,000 passengers have flown on the combined network, the airlines said in a statement. Top destinations booked through the codeshare include Kabul, Kathmandu, Kyiv, the Maldives and Zanzibar.

“The brands will remain separate, but going forward the airlines will operate far more at the hip then perhaps was done in the past,” said Clark. “When we look at what the 737 family can do, and we look at what the ERs can do and the 350s... you have an extraordinary number (of) tools in your toolbox.”

With their combined network, the airlines can serve up to 400 destinations, said Clark. “I don't know many international hubs in the world that can get anywhere near that.”

Tim Clark
File picture of Tim Clark, Emirates President. On Monday, he told at ATM 2021 conference, "When we look at what the 737 family can do, and we look at what the ERs can do and the 350s... you have an extraordinary number (of) tools in your toolbox." He was referring to closer partnership between his airline and flydubai. Image Credit: Gulf News

Boeing needs to be back

Clark, who in the past has publicly expressed his annoyance with Boeing on delays surrounding the 777x, said the US plane-maker should “get back to what they were really good at”.

“What happened recently, I say, in the last 10 years, needs to be looked at and contextualized in the way that they went about their business prior to this and say, 'Oh, what did we get wrong',” said Clark. “We cannot continue to operate a company on the basis of a problem, then another problem (and) then another problem...”