Delivering in Times of Need
You don’t need to be an #avgeek to understand the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the aviation and travel industries. Many commercial airlines have gone bust since air travel came to a near standstill; 43 in 2020, 46 in 2019, and 56 throughout 2018 (according to CNBC News).
If it’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this is that the world is constantly changing. In order to reach “cruising altitude”, airlines must learn to adapt to turbulent times. In fact, it wasn’t until a friend of mine sent me a video of an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER with cargo IN the cabin, (something I had never seen in my nearly 5 years of flying), that I began to realize how important it really was for airlines to adjust their services to meet the demands of the changing global marketplace.
While editing the video below that he had sent me, I decided to look into Emirates cargo services further. This led me to the Emirates Group’s 2020-21 financial results where I discovered that Emirates’ total passenger and cargo capacity declined by 58% to 24.8 billion available tonne kilometers (ATKMs), reporting a total loss of US$5.5 billion down from US$288 million profit in the previous year.
So how did the airline manage to make the most of a bad situation? One of the ways they coped was by maximizing Emirates SkyCargo’s services to support global supply chains for food, medical, and other trade items. In doing this, they were able to meet the increased demand for air freight. Their quick action; scaling up operations, rebuilding its cargo network, and supplementing its existing freighter capacity by bringing into service 19 “mini freighters” (modified Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft with seats in the economy cabin removed to make room for more cargo), enabled Emirates to make up for some of that loss. Emirates SkyCargo ended up generating US$4.7 billion (an increase of 53% over last year) and contributing to 60% of Emirates’ total transport revenue.
Tapping into its pharma capabilities, the airline also introduced a dedicated GDP-certified airside hub in Dubai for COVID-19 vaccines in October 2020, and later partnered with UNICEF to facilitate the rapid transport of COVID-19 vaccines to developing nations, supporting worldwide distribution and humanitarian relief and gaining them international recognition for their efforts.
Of course, this is only one piece of the puzzle and other strategies were implemented across the Emirates Group to secure further growth opportunities. (You can read more about them here).
The moral of the story, whether you’re a fan of Emirates or not, is that it’s incredible to see an airline utilize its resources in such a way to overcome its first year of loss in over 30 years. As I slowly begin to work towards completing my MBA in Aviation Management at Emirates Aviation University, I’m going to start taking further note of these trends, sharing them with you across my social platforms.
Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and do not represent the views of my company.