SHEIKH AHMED BIN SAEED AL MAKTOUM

Dubai 2020 | MOBILITY | INTERVIEW

Emirates Airlines aims to secure a stronger footing across new markets by utilizing cutting-edge technology to make the on-ground and onboard journeys more efficient and seamless.

Sheikh Ahmed bin  Saeed Al Maktoum
BIOGRAPHY

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum is the chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline & Group. He began his aviation career in 1985, when he was appointed president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation. In the same year, he became chairman of Emirates. Under his leadership, Emirates has been profitable for the last 30 years, a rarity in the airline industry. With several leadership roles in government, his role in the formulation of policies and strategies has helped strengthen Dubai's vision, economy, communities, and culture. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Denver and an honorary degree in science from City University London – Cass Business School.

What are Emirates' core values, and how do they align with those of Dubai?
Dubai's incredible rise as a vibrant, thriving global city and Emirates' growth have always gone hand in hand. Emirates' growth as the world's largest international airline is due to a combination of factors: Dubai's visionary leadership and forward-looking ethos, entrepreneurial spirit, and the government's ability to successfully tap into the city's geocentric location to connect people and economies. Dubai's aviation ecosystem, which is at the heart of the city's economy, is not only an important driver of growth in its own right, but also underpins growth in other strategic sectors by providing essential connectivity and much needed air lift. Emirates has helped rally tourism and link trade opportunities for Dubai to become a global hub by serving one-third of the world's population within a four-hour flying radius, two-thirds of the world's population within an eight-hour flying radius, and almost 90% of the world's population with non-stop flights using the latest ultra-long-range aircraft. Emirates will continue to drive growth and further elevate Dubai's status as a global center for trade, tourism, and commerce. The next chapter of Dubai's future is firmly focused on harnessing science, technology, and innovation to steer it toward a sustainable future. Emirates will continue playing a key role in supporting Dubai's goals by developing transformational solutions to help reshape the future of aviation and ensure the airline keeps a leading role in the industry.

What synergies will Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) bring to your operations?
Our fundamentals as an airline are grounded in optimally connecting people and cargo from all corners of the globe through our home and hub in Dubai. Between DXB and DWC, we operate two cargo hubs capable of handling close to 3 million tons of cargo a year. Emirates Skycargo's fleet of 49 trucks link cargo through a bonded corridor between the two airports integrating them into a single hub, and allow efficient connection timings between cargo arrival at one airport and departure at another on a 24/7 basis. On the passenger side and looking further afield, we will unlock further growth once the expansion of DWC is adequately developed to cater to Emirates operations, which we envisage will happen at the end of the next decade. Once completed, DWC will build on the latest passenger experience and cutting-edge aviation technologies.

What are your strategies going forward in terms of opening new markets and acquiring new aircrafts?
In 2018, we launched four new passenger points including Santiago de Chile, London Stansted, Edinburgh, and Bali-Auckland. We also layered on frequencies to 20 cities and upgraded capacity on eight cities. In 2019, we launched a linked route between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, a new service to Porto, as well as Mexico City via Barcelona. On the fleet front, we will begin receiving our Boeing 777X aircraft in the next two years. The Boeing 777X will offer us a flying range with more passenger capacity, helping to power our network growth. It will also offer enhanced aerodynamics, less weight, and up to 18% more fuel efficiency.

How do you envision the future?
Much has changed in commercial aviation over the last 20 years, and the future of this industry will be defined by its ability to successfully navigate geopolitical and economic headwinds, and how fast it adopts innovation and new technologies, all while capitalizing on the significant passenger demand, which is shifting east. Airlines that lag behind will leave the door open for more agile competitors to take their market share. In the coming years, Emirates will scale up its operations to secure a stronger footing across new markets. We will operate as a leaner, more agile organization through utilizing cutting-edge technology to make the on ground and onboard journeys more efficient and seamless.