As an attractive brand, Emirates Airlines flies higher globally
-A Monitor Special
Dhaka : With attractive products, Emirates Airlines has become a dominant player globally including Bangladesh market. This was stated by Satish Sethi Emirates, Area Manager of the airline in Bangladesh while informally talking to The Bangladesh Monitor, recently at his Gulshan office.
Because of the great vision of the top leaders and great team work of the 62,000 strong work- force to translate that vision into reality, Emirates has emerged as a dominant player in the global airline industry. In 2012, the airline has also earned profit for 24 consecutive years, Satish said.
He said that despite global economic downturn and other challenges like -rising oil price and political instability in some regions-the airline has invested to improve the product for creation of Unique Selling Point (USP) of its own.
Satish said that investment in improving products and sponsorships have helped Emirates to become a strong brand. "Customers know that we do not compromise with quality and that's what keeps bringing them back to us", he said and added "so, we will continue to invest in product enhancement and technology to further improve the product".
Talking about the performance of Emirates in Bangladesh market operated by 28 airlines, Satish said "We have added 2 more flights to Dhaka last September increasing our operations to 19 weekly flights. We have one-fourth of the market share in terms of revenue and want to finish next year with 15-20 per growth. Bangladesh market is growing about 20 per cent per year". He expressed the hope that if employment visas to the Gulf countries are eased, there will be higher than average growth - at least 25 per cent next year as there is a huge backlog of employment traffic waiting, "We plan to add two more flights this year and make the operations thrice daily", he added.
About performance in cargo transportation, Satish said that Emirates is doing excellent in the last few months. Besides ca-rrying good cargo loads on passenger flights, the airline has been operating approx. 10-11 freighters each mo-nth, which shows the strength of the cargo market. "We continue to be the preferred carrier westbound. Our cargo revenue in 2012 was almost double than the year before. The 2 extra passenger flights and the freighters this year offered extra cargo capacity which made it easier to manage the increased demand", he informed.
"We intend to bring in more freighters in the future. We introduced dedicated freighter service once a week to Chittagong last month and hope to increase our presence there too", he said.
"We have taken additional space at the cargo terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. We will refurbish our office, because there is need for better and more office space, to handle customers and also for the business volume", Satish said.
We started 15 new routes in 2012 and have Warsaw and Algiers coming up in Feb and March respectively. Satish said that new services to Washington and Dallas in the United States of America are have been the most popular new routes amo-ngst Bangladeshi travellers. There is a big Banglad-eshi community in Washington and Dallas, he said and added number of Americans in Bangladesh travelling to Washington is also significant.
Business & First Class
"Business Class is one of our strong selling products", Satish said and informed that for Bangladesh market, we offer over 100 seats per day. Emirates, he said is continuing to invest to improve Business Class product to provide the best experience to its premium customers. Most of our aircraft are new and the cabins have been retrofitted in other aircraft.
There is widescreen in-flight entertainment and tablets are docked in the seats in new B777s, he said.
Satish said, "at the moment there is no First Class service in Emirates' operation to Bangladesh. Once we see the optimum use of our Business Class product in Bangladesh, we will study the feasibility of First Class operations". But passengers from Bangladesh can travel Business Class from Dhaka and from Dubai onward to various destinations in First class."
Talking about A380, Satish said that we currently having 31 of this Super Jumbo. New York was first to get the A380 services. Now they fly all over the place including London Heathrow, Toronto, Jeddah, Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Beijing, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and Moscow.
About dispute with Association of the Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) on the issue of agency commissions, Satish said that "though" we tried our best to convince them that service charge would be beneficial for them and is in line with the best practices followed in most parts of the world, there were a few members in ATAB who were not convinced and took the matter to court and got an injunction. "Despite that, our commitment to the travel trade partners remains strong and unchanged".
Own set up
Satish said after 27 years, his airline decided to have its own set up instead of having a General Sales Agent (GSA) model in Bangladesh. From July 1, 2012 we have our own set up now with a strong and efficient team of 77 people.
Hajj & Umrah
About carriage of Hajj and Umrah passengers, Satish said that if given the opportunity, Emirates can provide Hajj pilgrims of Bangladesh, good connectivity and good product to ensure their smooth performance of Hajj. If there is fair playground for all, it would serve the interest of the pilgrims better.
However, Satish said, "Though we were disappointed for not being allowed to carry Hajj pilgrims, we respect the law of the land and follow any decision taken by the government. It helps us in our planning, if decisions are informed to us in advance."
About Umrah, Satish said that, "Umrah generally picks up before Ramadan. But expansion work of the of Holy Ka'aba is likely to affect normal Umrah traffic. So far it is business as usual and there is no restriction on Umrah yet."
Emirates says 'Hello 2013'
Satish said, "Emirates is welcoming 2013 aboard by offering up to 25 per cent discounts on fares for quick-acting customers from Bangladesh. Whether your New Year's resolution is to spend more time with family and friends or visit a dream destination, Emirates' Economy Class deals, currently available for early bookers, offer something for everyone."
The special fares apply to more than 120 destinations across the Emirates' network when booked between December 26, 2012 and January 10, 2013 - for travel from January 18 to June 10, 2013.The New Year offer return Economy Class airfare for example from Dhaka to London, Paris, New York and Washington will start from US$1250, US$1363, US$1514 and US$1565 respectively including all applicable taxes.
"Throughout the year we have enjoyed enormous support from our valued Bangladeshi travellers and I would like to thank them for treating Emirates as their preferred carrier," Sethi concluded.