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Emirates Airline boosts focus on India operations

Emirates has upped the ante with its India-centric initiatives to draw more passengers as well as to reward frequent flyers, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2008 23:14 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times

Emirates, one the world’s finest and fastest growing airlines with 115 aircrafts in operation and 242 on order -- including 58 super jumbo A380s, has upped the ante with its India-centric initiatives to draw more passengers as well as to reward frequent flyers.

In the last two days, it has tied up with Kingfisher Airlines to offer benefits on a reciprocal basis to each other’s frequent flyers and launched a co-branded credit card with Standard Chartered Bank offering travel benefits and miles to its frequent passengers from India.

The move comes in the backdrop of India’s biggest private carrier Jet Airways last month launching multiple flights from India to four destinations in West Asia promising world-class service to Indians working in the UAE.

Officially, Emirates top executives said that they were unfazed by the entry of Jet Airways into the lucrative India-UAE sector. “We welcome competition which is nothing new for us. The UAE and Indian markets are big enough to accommodate many more players and we are not worried,” said Orhan Abbas, vice president, India and Nepal, Emirates Airline.

He said Emirates would add more routes in India when the time is right and sees a huge potential in this market. At the moment, Emirates operates 99 flights a week to 9 destinations in India. Its flights from India operate with 85 per cent load factor, Abbas said.

The co-branded credit card is available in two variants — Platinum and Titanium. These are targeted at Skywards (Emirates frequent flyer programme) members who can earn Skyward Miles against every rupee spent on the credit card. These miles can be redeemed for free flights or upgrades on Emirates and its airline partners and a wide range of products and services with non-airline partners