Dubai: UAE should have multiple airlines operating from the country to promote healthy competition and cater to the needs of a growing population, said Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline.
Responding to a CNN query about a potential merger with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, Sheikh Ahmed pointed out that several countries around the world had more than one airline. “Competition is healthy and it’s good.”
UAE’s rapid growth in terms of population and its prominence as a regional business hub makes it important to have more than just one major airline. “We are not standing in one place – the population (and) the businesses are growing,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Even during a pandemic, look what we have achieved – if we are talking about Emirates, we moved vaccine, cargo, and perishable goods, and that has been done because we have an airline that is strong and resilient.”
Emirates, which has been gradually rebuilding its network since Dubai opened up in July 2020, reported an 81 per cent surge in revenue for the first half of 2021. The airline cut its losses to Dh5.7 billion from Dh14.1 billion during the same period in 2020.
“We have been in the pandemic for two years and things are looking much better,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “First of all, we started with vaccination most of the population – over 22 million people.”
The airline chief said that over 90 per cent of Emirates’ staff had been vaccinated.