DUBAI, U.A.E. — Emirates has plenty to celebrate as 2012 draws to a close and a New Year dawns. Numerous major milestones were achieved over the past twelve months across the global network.
Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, continued on its strong growth trajectory adding 15 new destinations to the network since January 2012, bringing new countries, cultures and experiences for customers to explore. The list of new points began with Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires in January 2012 and continued with Dublin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Seattle, Lusaka, Harare, Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon, Erbil, Washington DC and Adelaide. To conclude the year, services to Lyon and Phuket began in December 2012.
The launch of Emirates’ Facebook in late March attracted 300,000 fans in just three weeks. Within only a few more weeks, it was the number one airline on Facebook in the MENA region. Two months later, the page reached half a million fans and within just seven months of launching in the social media space, Emirates reached one million fans and is currently ranked one of the highest engaged airline Facebook pages.
In April, Emirates launched its new brand platform Hello Tomorrow –embarking on an integrated marketing communications campaign as the company continues its evolution from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand.
In May 2012, the Emirates Group, which includes dnata announced its annual results, which included profits of AED 2.3 billion (US$ 629 million) for the financial year ending 31st March 2012. Emirates airline posted its 24th consecutive year of profits amidst continued economic unease and record high fuel prices.
In line with the increase in destinations and frequencies, Emirates continued its rapid fleet expansion during 2012, receiving delivery of an unprecedented 33 aircraft, which included a record 11 A380s and 22 Boeing 777s, which included four freighters.
The growth of Emirates’ A380 fleet and routes expansion is unparalleled. On 10th December the airline added an A380 service to London Heathrow which makes all five daily flights serviced by A380s; on 1st December Singapore and Moscow were added, joining the A380 to Melbourne on 1st November. From 1st January 2013, the introduction of a double daily A380 service for flights to New York and Paris will begin.
Emirates celebrated the unveiling of the 1,000th Boeing 777 during a special event in March at Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington in the US which was attended by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group and a delegation of dignitaries from the UAE and senior Emirates executives.
In another first for the business, on 1st October 2012, Emirates took delivery of three new aircraft in a single day – the airline’s 24th and 25th Airbus A380 and the fleet’s 78th Boeing 777-300ER. That was followed in December with a record-breaking five aircraft being delivered in one month: three A380s and two Boeing 777s – all representative of the speed of growth throughout the year and a strong platform for expansion into 2013.
Emirates’ award winning inflight entertainment experience will now be even better due to the newly enhanced wide personal TV screens: 27-inch in First Class, 20-inch in Business Class and 12.1 inch in Economy Class, all with high definition resolution.
In addition, Emirates’ OnAir system now allows passengers on board any A380 to use their own mobile phones to make and receive phone calls and text messages inflight. The service is in addition to the OnAir WiFi service already available on Emirates A380 aircraft.
For families, Emirates’ on-board children’s product was improved with the launch of new monster-themed selection of toys for pre-school children, with quirky names. The new characters, which each have their own personality traits and hobbies, join four existing characters in the collection. For older children, Emirates launched a collection of travel-inspired products co-designed with Quiksilver.
This year, Emirates has continued to invest in the addition and upgrade of lounge facilities. In February, the airline opened its first airport lounge on the USA’s West Coast - at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) representing a $4 million investment in the Bay Area. In May, a new lounge was opened at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport (IST) and on 15th June formally opened at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayaka.
In November, Skywards, Emirates’ frequent flyer programme, inked a deal with easyJet, Europe’s fourth largest airline, which allows for redemption of Skywards Miles for flights on easyJet.
Emirates SkyCargo, continues to be a significant force in the global air cargo industry, taking delivery of four additional Boeing 777 freighters during 2012. SkyCargo also won numerous awards including Cargo Airline of the year, Best African Cargo Airline and for the 24th consecutive year, Best Middle East Cargo Airline at the Cargo Airline of the Year Awards, as well as being named Air Cargo Carrier of the Year for the sixth time at the Global Freight Awards.
In early September, Emirates and Qantas announced a proposed partnership which will see Qantas move its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai and enter an extensive commercial relationship. The proposed partnership will provide customers with a seamless international and Australian network, exclusive frequent flyer benefits and world-class travel experiences
On 20th December 2012, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a draft determination that proposed to grant authorisation for the partnership for five years. The implementation of the partnership remains subject to the ACCC's final determination due in March 2013.
Known for its top tier sports and cultural sponsorships, in November Emirates signed a record £150 million deal to extend shirt branding with Arsenal Football Club to run to the end of the 2018/2019 season coupled with an agreement for Arsenal’s home to continue to be known as Emirates Stadium up to 2028; accreditation of Emirates as Official Airline. In February 2012, Emirates signed a seven year, US $90 million deal to became the title sponsor of the US Open tennis tournament and the nine tournaments leading up to the Open. In addition, sponsorship of the ATP World Tour and Rankings was announced just last week.
Looking forward into 2013, Emirates will kick off the New Year by launching two brand new routes - Warsaw on 6th February and Algiers on 1st March 2013 with more routes slated to be announced.
The New Year will also see Emirates’ position as the industry-leading A380 operator reinforced with the opening at Dubai International Airport of the world’s first purpose-built A380 concourse in January 2013. Part of the strategic plan by Dubai Airports to support Emirates’ ambitious growth, the new concourse will also bolster Dubai’s ambition to become the largest international air hub in the world by 2018.