Every year, millions of passengers reconfigure their travel itineraries in order to fly on a very specific Emirates aircraft. That is the double-decker behemoth of the skies, the A380, which has captured the imagination of the airborne public.
While airlines like American, Delta and even Ryanair can claim to carry more passengers every year, and others like Lufthansa and Air France can boast larger revenues, Emirates has its own bragging rights. It’s the world’s most ambitious airline, has burgeoning profits (that jumped 40 per cent last year, driven by rapid expansion and bolstered by a drop in fuel prices), an extremely young fleet and has won several hundred awards for service excellence. So at a time when the industry as a whole, is predominantly focussed on cutting costs, how come Emirates is making a success of spending (ever) more? The trick, it seems, lies in the airline’s ability to anticipate customer expectations. In other words, it’s a company that offers you things before you even know you want them. And once you do realise you want them, you will be inclined to spend more to get them. Take the A380 for example. With a total of 140 units, or 50 per cent of the order book, Emirates is far and away the biggest sponsor of Airbus’ flagship product and as a result, the doubledecker has become the defining aircraft for the Dubai-based airline. Competitors may prefer smaller twin-jet models that provide better fuel efficiency but the four-engine A380 perfectly suits Emirates’ one-stop, long-haul to long-haul, business model. And where others have merely seen the A380 as a larger airplane, Emirates uses the extra space as a the perfect opportunity to redefine air travel altogether. Setting foot on one is like taking a step back to the good old days. The luxury of the expansive cabins, the five-star levels of service and the generous facilities all hark back to the golden