As competition on the India-Dubai sector hots up with low-cost carrier IndiGo starting operations and others likely to follow, Majid Al Mualla, senior vice-president, Emirates - the largest carrier on the route with 185 weekly flights - talks about competition, profitability and the importance of Indian market.
How will you negotiate the prospect of IndiGo and others flying into Dubai?
Emirates has long functioned under a year-round 'Open Skies' policy at Dubai competing with over 120 airlines, so we would welcome more players to the region. We believe competition is good for the market and for the consumer.
Will the significant capacity addition impact profitability?
We have long believed in the long term nature of the Indian market. As such, we have focused on building capacity over a period of time with a view to the future. Innovations like chauffer drive service and the luxury offered by our world-class Emirates lounges, have helped us create a niche for ourselves.
If rules are changed would Emirates invest in an Indian carrier?
We would like to grow internally and not through acquisitions.
What efforts are underway to get India to allow A380?
India is a key market for Emirates and the one where we may possibly look at deploying a super jumbo when the time is right.
How important is India for you and how much does it contribute to your revenues?
India was one of our first destinations worldwide which explains the importance the market holds for our global operations. For the FY 2010-11 the revenue for the West Asia and Indian Ocean (of which, India is a major part) totalled $1.7 billion (R8,330 crore) registering an increase of 20.4% over last year.
How much interaction you have with flydubai (low-cost airline) to open up new routes?
We do not have any interactions with flydubai with regard to new routes. It is an entirely separate company and functions independently.