Flyers have never had it so good
Emirates chief says now is the time to travel before costs soar for all
Emirates Airline President Sir Tim Clark has told passengers to enjoy cheap travel “while you can”. The airline boss was speaking at the International Air Travel Association’s (IATA) Symposium in Dubai yesterday. Responding to a question about the future costs of airfares, Clark (pictured) said: “Regarding ticket prices, you have never had it so good. These prices are to die for.
“There will come a time when they start to rise again, so make hay now, travel now.”
It’s widely acknowledged that oil prices are the driving factor when it comes to determining the cost of tickets for a flight, and the price of crude is starting to creep up.
Clark also said that Emirates’ recent decision to introduce charges for advanced seating was simply following industry-wide trends.
“You see British Airways providing Marks & Spencer sandwiches for flights that are less than four hours,” he said.
“Is that degrading what we [as an industry] are doing? No.”
Key figures from the aviation industry are in Dubai this week for the IATA World Passenger Symposium, with Emirates Airline President Sir Tim Clark welcoming delegates and delivering the first keynote speech yesterday.
Here’s what he had to say on a range of hot topics…
CHARGING PASSENGERS TO PICK THEIR SEATS IN ADVANCE:
“We have an enormous network. Time and time again our consumers were telling us ‘we want to sit together as a family, as a golf group, as a hen party’.
“If you’re willing to pay for it, good, because then it certainly makes life easier. I think everyone is starting to monetise some of the services they offer.”
PAYING FOR EXTRAS
“It’s a case if they want it they’ll pay for it and if they don’t want it… then they don’t want it.
“If you want to go from London to Frankfurt for seven euros you can.
“If you want to pick your seats, if you want baggage, if you want food or something else you can have it at a price.
“It is a huge opportunity for everyone, ancillary income is going to be very important in the next few years.”
ECONOMIC REALITIES FOR THE AIRLINE
“Certain African countries, without mentioning which ones they are, have really had their currencies going down.
“We’re reflecting on a number of those and looking where it’s just not worth it for us to travel to.
“Does that mean we are cutting our programme? No, of course it doesn’t.”
BRITAIN’S DECISION TO LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION
“Emirates serves many cities in the UK, does that mean Brexit has affected that business? It hasn’t really.
“It’s more about Europe going through a very difficult time.
“The inbound market to the UAE from Europe remains robust, the outbound market was not tainted by things like Brexit, it was more due to concerns about security.”
TERRORISM IN EUROPE
“As you know, there were multiple incidents throughout Europe and there were concerns about what was going on in Turkey. There was a fall-off in demand for Paris, of course, and other cities in Europe. “The United Kingdom actually remained robust. Hopefully of all this will be dealt with in the next couple of years.”
THE RISE OF RIGHT WING POPULISM
“This is a manifestation of the pushback against what happened 20 years ago with the distribution of wealth. “Some people feel left out. People are well aware of the dangers though.”
“The demand from the Chinese will soon outstrip the rest of the world.
“China is going to be the primary driving force for global demand.”
DONALD TRUMP OR HILLARY CLINTON…
“Whichever one becomes president, we hope they will still recognise the value of the liberal Open Skies arrangement.
“The benefit of transport to the United States from the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways is quite clear.”
KEYNOTE: Emirates Airline President Tim Clark