LONDON – Emirates has this week made two substantial announcements pertinent to the Asian and Indian market.

Careful Indian Investment…

The first announcement, which was on April 22, saw the airline sign a new Memorandum of Understanding with SpiceJet over a reciprocal codesharing arrangement.

This will see six Indian cities such as Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut be added to the already existing nine cities already served by Emirates.

It is expected to add an additional 67 weekly flights from the six new cities into Dubai.

Ajay Singh, the Chairman and MD of SpiceJet expressed how delighted he was that Emirates is now part of the carrier’s strategy in terms of growth.

“I am delighted to announce that as part of SpiceJet’s international expansion strategy, we have signed an MoU for a codeshare agreement with Emirates.”

“This new partnership should immensely benefit passengers travelling on both airlines.”

“While SpiceJet passengers from across India will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity leveraging Emirates vast network across Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East those travelling to India on Emirates will be able to travel to 51 destinations across our domestic network,”

In Europe, it is expected to connect passengers onward to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester and Amsterdam in Europe, New York, Washington, Toronto and Sao Paulo in the Americas as well as Jeddah, Kuwait and Amman in the Middle East.

Photo: Sean d’Silva

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Divisional Senior VP of Strategic Planning, Revenue, Optimization and Political Affairs has emphasised how important the Indian market is.

“Our journey in India has been defined by progressive investment, partnership and growth.”

“We constantly try to improve and provide our customers with greater flexibility and travel choices.”

“This partnership with SpiceJet and the mutual expansion of our network will go a long way in further enhancing the travel experience of our customers in India as well as those heading into India, benefiting travellers and businesses alike”.

With the demises of Jet Airways and Air India looking particularly substantial, Emirates has played a smart move in choosing SpiceJet.

With new pilots being swiped from the two struggling carriers, more flights will no doubt be announced as new aircraft are received over the coming years.

Malé for the Game Changer…

Another announcement that was made was the brand new ‘Game Changer’ First Class suites installed on its Boeing 777-300ER will service Malé as its first route from June 1.

The carrier will operate this product on flights 658 and 659, which is one of three daily non-stop flights to the destination.

Commenting on this was Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior VP of West Asia and the Indian Ocean, who emphasised how well this product will do particularly in the Maldives.

“The Maldives has become an increasingly popular destination for Emirates, attracting premium travellers, honeymooners and families from around the world. Introducing the new Boeing 777 with the state-of-the-art First Class suites on this route reaffirms our longstanding commitment to Malé.”

“It’s also a testament to our ongoing efforts to provide our travellers across the network with an unparalleled experience, demonstrating what Emirates truly means when it invites customers to Fly Better,”

EK658 will depart at 0420L, arriving into the Maldives at 0930L. EK659, the return will depart Malé at 1100L, arriving into Dubai at 1400L accordingly.

The new First-Class suited, inspired by Mercedes-Benz will offer a fully enclosed product for those onboard.

Only six of them are onboard the aircraft offering a very private configuration of 1-1-1.

The suites itself recline into a fully flat-bed that can move into different positions.

Working with NASA, there is also a setting called ‘zero-gravity’ where there can be a feeling of weightlessness for the passenger.

Passengers can also enjoy a variation of lighting colours and adjust the temperature of their suites too.

Finally, through fibre-optic technology, there are virtual windows that can project a view from outside the aircraft in real time.

Destination #51 for the A380…

Emirates has unveiled destination number 51 that will be operated by the Airbus A380.

Effective earlier last week, Riyadh on the EK817/818 replaced the Boeing 777-300ER, departing Dubai at 1850L, arriving in at 1935L before heading back to DXB at 2125L with an arrival time of 0035L the next day.

Commenting on the route upgrade was Adil Al Ghaith, the Senior VP of Commercial Operation in the Gulf, Middle East & Iran who explained the significant demand that is coming out of the Kingdom.

“With the introduction of a regularly scheduled A380 service to Riyadh, Emirates is once again reaffirming its ongoing commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by catering to growing passenger demand.”

“This A380 service complements the newly introduced Game Changer Boeing 777-300ER on the route, which means that customers travelling to and from Riyadh can enjoy our latest flagship products.”

“The introduction of the A380 to Riyadh also supports Saudi Vision 2030 by helping to grow the Kingdom’s aviation sector through stimulating robust traffic growth, increasing connectivity and deepening its global footprint.”

“We would like to thank the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation who have been instrumental in making this service possible.” 

The A380s will be configured in a three class setup, offering 429 seats on the main deck in Economy, 76 seats in Business and 14 in First Class.

This move comes following the last 30 years of relationships the carrier has had with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through services to Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina and Dammam.

Out of Saudi Arabia, there are 84 weekly flights alone to Dubai with the carrier.

Overall, it has been a heavy seven to ten days for Emirates as it aims to expand what it can offer.

It seems that growth opportunities are still arising for the airline. All that is left for it to do is to continue making the right decisions and it will continue to maintain its place on the market.