Strategic force behind Emirates
Adnan Kazim has been with Emirates a long time and he has what must be one of the longest titles – Emirates divisional senior vice president strategic planning, revenue optimization and aeropolitical affairs – but he assures me that title is short. “It was longer than this,” he says. “We had to remove some words for the other functions I do.” Adnan, who works closely with the Emirates president, is based in the Dubai head office. “It is a team effort that goes along with any outcome,” he assures me. When asked about the vice president title, Adnan says there are 15 to 20 vicepresidents with the airline. He has been with Emirates since he graduated from university in 1992 and went through the management training programme, which included cargo, airport, pricing and planning. Since the management training Adnan has enjoyed postings to Greece, Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt, Switzerland, Austria and Pakistan. “A nice journey building the knowledge and experience.” For now he is back in Dubai. As far as Australia and New Zealand go, Emirates have been flying here since 2004. “Today we have 77 flights a week to Australia and New Zealand and we are seeing massive growth and demand from consumers in terms of the product we are offering, the frequency we offer, plus the networking. But there is always room for improvement. “Australia and New Zealand capacity has grown over the past three years and we are seeing growth opportunities.” Asked about the imminent entry of Qatar into the New Zealand market, Adnan rolls off the advantages of his airline: “We are a well-established airline in New Zealand and Australia. We have a very strong partner with Qantas. We have 91 flights per week [with Qantas] serving Dubai – mostly A380 flights. We have over four gateways. Of the 130 airlines coming into Dubai, Emirates contributes 60 per cent of capacity between Dubai and any point in terms of the network.” Getting back to the question, Adnan says: “We love competition.” Emirates, he adds, has 76 A380 planes and by March 2017 will have 95 A380s.” There are three types of A380 aircraft, I learn. There are 489 seats on the flights that come to New Zealand. Other A380s have 519 seats or 615 seats. The difference is to meet requirements and demand with different markets. In the future A380s will be further enhanced in terms of fuel economy and there will be more seats. The plan will be to have slightly bigger aircraft. “By 2020 we are forecasting to achieve 70 million passengers – up from 51 million this past year. That’s a growth of almost 20 million in the coming four years. We are aiming to enhance aircraft from 251 aircraft to an additional 30 more aircraft by 2020.” The airline is also aiming for 170 destinations by 2020 [up from 152 today]. There will be more focus towards Asia and the airline is keen to expand in Latin America and South America. As far as New Zealand goes, Adnan is yet to visit. “New Zealand is one of those places I would like to go to. I hear a lot of positive things about the natural, relaxing scenery – it is something quite unique. I look forward to visiting and seeing the place.” Meantime, his goal is to continue strengthening the global carrier. Emirates, he says, has just started flights to the Philippines and two new points in China [Yinchuan and Zhengzhou]. “In August we will be starting Hanoi and Myanmar.” For 2016 the airline is aiming for a further 10 to 13 per cent growth in capacity with its A380s and 777s. “We have 26 aircraft that will be taken out from the fleet and we will receive 37 new aircraft – 21 of them A380s and the rest 777s. One of the biggest challenges for the airline remains Dubai Airport and how to accommodate more aircraft in the future.
Longest title in the industry: Emirates divisional senior vice president, strategic planning, revenue optimisation and aeropolitical affairs, Adnan Kazim.