“We would like to serve Switzerland early”

Adnan Kazem © LS

Emirates presented at the 29th Arabian Travel Market Newly launched premium economy class. With this said, one wants to increase carrier sales numbers after the pandemic.

In an interview with Travel Inside at the trade fair in Dubai, Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Kazim explains how Emirates has performed during the pandemic and what the airline’s outstanding economy is.

Adnan Kazem, how was the Emirates airline fare during Corona, especially in Switzerland?

This was a very difficult time for us as we even had to close Dubai International Airport in March 2020. In May we were able to open the shop again. We gradually increased departures again, then Dubai City opened to visitors again in July 2020. Switzerland was one of the first destinations we traveled to from Dubai. Here too, we have gradually increased capacities again: we are currently in about 70% business compared to before Corona.

What do the numbers look like now?

All Boeing 777s are in service again for passengers and 66 of the Airbus A380s are once again moving around the world – also in the direction of Switzerland. The network from Dubai is currently about 90% restored. By 2023 we hope to be back at 100% – in the network and also in the frequency of flights. For example to China and Hong Kong. We are aiming to achieve the goal in the third quarter of next year.

One of Emirates’ major innovations is the introduction of Premium Economy Class.

We were looking forward to it. It will be available on select flights from August 2022: from Dubai to London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Sydney. Christchurch will also be added in December 2022. Six aircraft are already equipped with 56 Premium Economy Class seats. From 12 to 15% of the aircraft occupancy will be premium economy class seats.

How does Emirates Premium Economy Class compare to other airlines?

Emirates Premium Economy Class © Emirates طيران

We used leather and wood seats because it looks nice. In addition, guests are given a certain degree of privacy, since the cabin is separated from the other cabins. The back tilt is 20 cm and the seat tilt is about 100 cm. There will be welcome drinks as well as a hot towel. The standard of listings should be as good as the ones we offer in business class. So, for us it is a very high standard overall that we offer in Premium Economy. We expect it to be in great demand. It is currently available as an upgrade on some connections to London and Paris and is always fully booked.

Do economy guests then tend to book premium economy or more business class guests?

Our focus should be on promoting the upgrade to Economy Class guests. 35% of our guests have already booked the flexible economy class tariff. We assume that many guests would like to provide better comfort. The step to business is the biggest step – and ultimately we also want to avoid premium economy class in competition with business class.

What is the price difference between Economy Class and Premium Economy Class?

The price difference between Full Economy Class and Premium Economy Class ranges from 10 to 15%. Of course, prices depend on the route taken by the guests.

When will Premium Economy Class be available on flights to Zurich and Geneva?

The conversion program for 67 Airbus A-380s and 53 Boeing B-777s begins in November 2022, and is planned for 18 months. During this time, communications to Switzerland must also be made using converted machinery. Premium products are in great demand in Switzerland and we would like to introduce them early.

When you board the Emirates plane yourself, where would you like to travel to?

For me, Europe is a beautiful destination. There are three places I particularly like to visit. This includes Switzerland, where I once lived and worked, as well as London and Italy. I really love being in these places and enjoying my holidays there or visiting my family.

Interview: Louisa Schmidt, Dubai

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