Fly­ers have never had it so good

Emi­rates chief says now is the time to travel be­fore costs soar for all

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan

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.”

NEW MAR­KETS…

“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

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