Emirates eyes additional flights to Australia
As the current four-year deal between the UAE and Australia allowing the phased growth of Emirates' services ends next year, negotiations on a new air services agreement between the two countries are expected to begin soon.
Emirates already seems to have started a drive to boost capacity to Australia. At present the Dubai carrier operates 70 flights a week frequency to Australia (up from 49 in 2007), which is due to grow to a 84-flights ceiling by the time the current agreement expires. Its Australian destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
"Australia has been generous to Emirates and we have reciprocated more than 14 years with very significant Australian investments and tourism promotion. We seek long-term moderate growth that is in Australia's national interests," Richard Jewsbury, Emirates' Senior Vice-President Commercial Operations for the Far East and Australasia, told Emirates Business.
He added: "The Australian air services negotiation model is one of the best in the world, respecting investment, ensuring only commercial and rational airlines are rewarded, and promoting competition."
Emirates commanded eight per cent of the international market to or from Australia at the end of 2009, according to a report published by The Australian. It added Emirates is calling for the continuation of a policy that allowed capacity from Dubai to be treated separately from other regional carriers.
While the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways currently operates flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Qatar Airways is due to launch services to Sydney sometime this year. The Doha carrier already operates flights to the Australian city of Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Emirates' bid to gain more rights into Australia and double its flights to 84 a week, has in the past faced opposition by the Australian flagship carrier, Qantas, fearing loss of its traffic and market share to Emirates in its home market.
The report further states the Dubai carrier is taking a "lower-key approach to lobbying" while it waits for the market to stabilise, and is refraining from pushing for the kind of aggressive growth it has undertaken in the past four years. Emirates has, meanwhile, also boosted the number of seats on the Australia route by deploying bigger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER. Emirates' Auckland service, via Sydney to Dubai, is operated by an Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The airline would also be boosting its capacity on the Tasman route starting August this year as the airline increases its seats on the Auckland-Melbourne route, as reported by New Zealand Herald, which states the airline will replace the current Airbus A340-500 with the latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, adding an extra 672 seats a week in each direction, with the flight linking to its hub in Dubai.
The carrier is also establishing a strong presence in Australia with the launch of its $125 million (Dh459m) hospitality venture – the Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.
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