Mumbai: Premier United Arab Emirates’ carrier Emirates, which earned a whopping $1.1 billion net profit in 2009-10 despite the global slowdown, said on June 1, a large chunk of its revenue earnings came from India, which was one of its “largest” foreign hubs.
The airline, which flies to 10 Indian destinations and has 184 flights each week, announced several attractive schemes to cater to the summer rush to attract Indian holiday travelers to fly to Dubai and beyond.
“India and the (West Asian) region contributed 12.6 percent of the airline revenue which totaled $12.4 billion in 2009-10. It is one of the biggest markets and largest outstation hub for us,” the airline’s vice president (India and Nepal) Orhan Abbas told reporters in New Delhi.
He said even at the height of the global financial crisis and the hike in global crude prices, Emirates continued to increase its operations to India and reached a tally of 184 each week.
Observing that Emirates had received “overwhelming re-sponse” from Indian travelers so far, he said Dubai, with “numerous world class attractions,” had become a complete family destination for Indians and the summer offers were tailored to suit all budgets or classes of travel.
He said the airline would be launching six new routes through this year, including one to Madina during the upcoming Ramazan season.
The other destinations are Amsterdam, Prague, Bagh-dad, Madrid and Dakar.
“Indian travelers, we feel, will play a very big role in all these markets,” he said.
To questions on some foreign airlines insisting on “zero commission” for travel agents who have protested the move, Abbas said, “We will stick to our decision to give 5 percent commission as we value our partnership with the travel trade.”
Giving details of the summer holiday packages, he said under one scheme, two children up to the age of 16, would travel free and enjoy several other benefits, including free visas, if their parents are fully paid passengers.
Emirates have launched a complimentary Dubai stop-over package for those flying in its First and Business Classes.
It has also started an online UAE visa application system.
The airline, which is one of the sponsors of 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa, announced a package under which air tickets, match tickets and accommodation can be booked in one go.
To questions on recruitment of staff from India, the Emirates vice president said 10 percent of the entire crew was Indian and hiring of Indians would continue whenever the demand rose.
The airline currently has a fleet of 139 passenger and seven freighter aircraft. It has another 145 planes on firm order.