Emirates rounds off a year of growth with fleet and product milestones

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, rounded off another year of growth in 2016, underlined by fleet and network expansion, as well as customer focused product investments.

Commenting on 2016, Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: "Consumer appetite for travel has remained resilient, despite socio-economic and political headwinds around the globe, and that is reflected in our operational growth. Emirates will continue on our strategy of organic growth, leveraging on the geo-centricity of the UAE, and Dubai’s dynamic developments in tourism and commerce. We will also continue to invest in our product and services so as to offer our customers an outstanding experience and value proposition while they discover the world."

Emirates scaled up its fleet in 2016 with the addition of 36 new aircraft, consisting of 20 A380s, 16 Boeing 777-300ERs, while retiring 29 older aircraft.

The airline concluded the year with 255 aircraft in service, with an average age of 5.0 years, significantly below the industry average of over 11 years.

Keeping its fleet young not only minimises Emirates’ overall carbon footprint, but it also enables the airline to put the latest products and services onboard its aircraft.

Emirates unlocked seven new passenger points and one cargo destination in 2016, rounding off the year with 154 destinations in its global network.

The airline’s new passenger services in 2016 were: Cebu and Clark in the Philippines, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou in China, Yangon in Myanmar, Hanoi in Vietnam, Fort Lauderdale in the US and cargo-only destination Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Emirates also expanded its A380 network to 44 destinations with the addition of 8 new points.

Today it operates the longest A380 service in the world from Dubai to Auckland, and also the world’s shortest A380 service to Doha. During the year, Emirates also led one-off A380 services to two destinations - Chicago in the US, and Amman in Jordan.

Emirates was named World’s Best Airline 2016 at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, and in the past year, the airline continued to work hard to deliver memorable experiences for its customers.

The airline invested in a series of product developments and service enhancements, both in the air and on the ground.

Emirates continued to strengthen its in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering. With the airline now operating an all-Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet, this means customers on all Emirates flights can access on-demand entertainment with up to 2,600 channels of movies, music, TV shows, games and more, to choose from.

In October, Emirates signed an agreement with Thales to equip its Boeing 777X fleet with the Thales AVANT in-flight entertainment system, debuting in mid-2020.

Reflecting the increasingly connected digital lifestyle, over 8.8 million Emirates passengers connected to Wi-Fi on board in 2016. In addition, more than 400,000 phone calls were made in-flight, and 1.7 million sms messages were transmitted by passengers.

Emirates topped The Brand Finance Global 500 report as the world’s most valuable airline brand in 2016, with the airline’s brand value growing more than 17 per cent to US$ 7.7 billion. Throughout 2016, Emirates continued to use sports, musical and cultural events as a platform to engage with its customers and fans.

In a joint effort to promote reading and literacy, Emirates partnered with Google in an initiative called ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’.

This initiative aimed to reach millions of smartphone users and make Arabic books more accessible with unprecedented discounts of up to 90 per cent on online books at the Google Play Books store in 9 countries in the Middle East, and support the UAE’s Year of Reading.

So far, the initiative has reached over 120 million people in the region.

In November, Emirates teamed up with Dubai Miracle Garden to construct the world’s largest floral installation through a life-size version of the Emirates A380, covered in more than 500,000 fresh flowers and living plants.

Over 200 people worked for 180 days to build, layer and mount the foliage on the 30 tonne steel structure. The aircraft structure even includes moving engine fans and other key design features that capture the essence of the original aircraft design.

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