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Travel Experience Elevated to New Heights with Emirates

Issue 2 - 2019
In this Interview, Emirates Airlines Turkey - Romania and Bulgaria Regional Manager Bahar Birinci discusses the progressive, competitive and continually global outlook that has made Emirates Airlines a pioneer in providing unique experiences for travelers, sharpening their competitive edge by leveraging cutting edge technology
Aviation Turkey: First of all, thank you very much for this interview. Emirates Airlines began its aviation life with two leased airplanes 35 years ago and now it is one of the biggest players in the industry. Can you tell us more about how Emirates Airlines has become so successful?

Bahar Birinci: On 25 October 1985, Emirates began operations with its first flight from Dubai to Karachi, Pakistan. The airline started off with just two aircraft, a leased Boeing 737 and an Airbus 300 B4.

Then, as now, our goal was always to provide travelers with the best travel experiences on the ground and the air, and in the years since taking those first steps from entering the regional travel scene, we’ve evolved into the world’s largest international airline. We had, and continue to have, a strong focus on customer innovation and over the years developed a range of services and products in the airline industry that were the first in the industry. As one example, in 1992, Emirates became the first airline to install video systems in all seats across all classes throughout its fleet.

Today we operate a fleet of 268 aircraft, comprising all Airbus 380s and Boeing 777s, which also makes us the world’s largest operator of these two aircraft. Our global network currently covers 158 destinations in 85 countries across six continents.

Aviation Turkey: The Aviation sector is a growing sector that grows with each passing day. Emirates Airlines is one the biggest player in the giant’s league. Can you tell us about the challenges of being listed as one of the best airlines and please share a bit about the investments you’ve made into technology as Emirates is known to always to lead the airline industry with trends of the future?

Bahar Birinci: One of the key challenges in the airline industry is to keep pace with constantly changing technologies. Over the years - and we continue to do so – we’ve made significant investments across all areas of our business, such as introducing new technologies, products and services, acquiring new aircraft and equipment, modernizing our facilities and staff initiatives, amongst others. All of these investments enable us to be at the forefront of providing our customers the best travel experience.

For example, we recently announced that Emirates is the first airline outside America to receive approval for biometric boarding from the U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP). This means that soon customers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 destinations in the U.S. will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology.

We also continue to focus on elevating our digital customer experience by leveraging cutting edge technology. Last year, Emirates introduced 3D seat models, becoming the first airline to introduce web virtual reality (VR) technology on its digital platform. The 3D seat model is a visualization engine that displays an immersive 3D 360-degree view of the interior of the Emirates A380 and all the Emirates B777 aircraft types, allowing users to navigate through Economy, Business and First Class cabins, as well as the iconic Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa on the A380 using navigational hotspots.

Aviation Turkey: Emirates Airlines has nearly 130 Boeing 777s and 142 Airbus A380 aircraft which is the largest A380 fleet in the world. In the near future is it possible that you may add smaller aircraft to your fleet, such as the A350, A330 or Boeing 787?

Bahar Birinci: Emirates operates a young and modern fleet with an average fleet age of just 6.1 years. While we currently operate an all A380 and Boeing 777 fleet, we do have orders for other types of aircraft. In February we placed an order for 40 Airbus 330-900 and 30 Airbus 350-900 aircraft in a head of agreement signed with Airbus. These aircraft will be delivered to Emirates starting from 2021 and 2024 respectively.

Aviation Turkey: As we know you have 18 weekly flights from both Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Istanbul Airport to Dubai and this is important for Turkish travelers flying directly to the UAE or transferring to the Far East. From Istanbul to Dubai you are operating the flights with B777s. On the other hand, you are operating the shortest flight of your Network; Dubai to Muscat with A380s. Do you have any plans for Turkey to operate with A380s?

Bahar Birinci: We have no immediate plans to fly the Emirates A380 to Istanbul, but we continue to welcome many Turkish customers onboard these iconic aircraft when they connect in Dubai to one of our A380 destinations, particularly in Asia and Australia.

Aviation Turkey: Dubai International Airport, as one of the most important transport and logistics centers in the world, served about 90 million passengers in 2018. What part of this success can be correlated to Emirates Airlines?

Bahar Birinci: Dubai’s rise as a vibrant, thriving global tourism and business city and Emirates’ growth have always gone hand in hand. Emirates’ growth to become the world’s largest international airline is due to a combination of factors: Dubai’s visionary leadership and forward-looking ethos, entrepreneurial spirit and successfully tapping into the city’s geo-centric location to connect people and economies.

The city boasts a world class infrastructure, outstanding airports and seaports, a financial hub and a world-class tourism industry. Dubai’s aviation industry, which is a key part of this city’s economy, is not only an important driver of growth in its own right, but it also underpins growth in other strategic sectors through the provision of essential global connectivity and air lift services.

Emirates has helped to grow tourism and link trade opportunities for Dubai to become a global hub by serving one-third of the world’s population within a four-hour flying radius, two-thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flying radius, and almost 90% of the world’s population with non-stop flights using the latest ultra-long-range aircraft.

Emirates will continue to contribute to the growth and status of Dubai as a global center for trade, tourism and commerce. Like Dubai, Emirates is progressive, competitive, has a global outlook and continually innovates to pioneer unique experiences for travelers and sharpen our competitive edge.

It’s also just less than a year away when Dubai will host Expo 2020, taking place from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, which is expected to attract millions of visitors.

Aviation Turkey: For a passenger that is planning a long-haul flight with Emirates Airlines, what do you offer in terms of comfort, technology and safety, what makes you unique?

Bahar Birinci: Our brand promise “Fly Better” is all about customers having a better experience when travelling with us, whether you are in Economy, Business or First Class. All customers travelling with Emirates can look forward to complimentary regionally inspired cuisine and beverages, over 4,500 channels of entertainment on our multi award winning entertainment system, ice, warm hospitality from our multinational cabin crew, including Turkish nationals, generous baggage allowances, Wi-Fi on most of our aircraft and dedicated products and services for families.

Our Business and First-Class customers enjoy chauffeur transportation services in over 75 cities worldwide and access to a network of over 40 Emirates lounges. Premium cabin customers travelling on the A380 have access to the onboard lounge, while First Class customers have exclusive use of the shower spas.

Aviation Turkey: In recent years, Cargo transportation has become more important for airlines. As Dubai is one of the biggest hubs between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, can you tell us about the activities and future plans of Emirates SkyCargo?

Bahar Birinci: During the Financial Year 2018/19, Emirates SkyCargo transported close to 2.7 million tons of cargo. We are currently the world’s largest international airline cargo carrier as measured by FTKMs (Freight Ton Kilometers). We fly cargo to over 155 destinations across six continents. In addition to the over 255 passenger flights every day from Dubai, we also have our freighter fleet that cover a network of over 40 destinations every week on a scheduled basis. Emirates SkyCargo has been able to navigate the global air cargo industry successfully thanks to a few key strategies.

The first is our focus on building specialized transportation solutions for industry verticals which has been important to our successful performance and it will continue to remain a priority area. Customers have been demanding specialized care and handling for their shipments. Some of our flagship specialized product offerings include Emirates Pharma, Emirates Fresh and Emirates Wheels. In addition, in 2018/19 we launched Emirates AOG for the rapid transportation of aircraft components and Emirates Pets for the safe and comfortable journey (including door to door in select markets) for pets such as domestic cats and dogs. Some of our other products include Emirates Charter focusing on our charter solutions, Emirates Safe for the transportation of valuable and vulnerable cargo.

The second has been our strategy to invest in developing state of the art and ‘fit for purpose’ infrastructure both within and outside our hub. Between our two state of the art cargo terminals Emirates SkyCentral DXB and Emirates SkyCentral DWC, we offer a capacity of close to 2 million tons of cargo per annum. The terminals also feature extensive Cool Chain facilities including a fleet of Cool Dollys which protect cargo such as pharmaceuticals and perishables from temperature excursions when on the ramp or when being transported between the aircraft and cargo terminal.

Our investment in our pharma transportation capabilities is another good example. In 2016, we inaugurated our purpose-built facility at Dubai International Airport dedicated to the transport of pharmaceuticals. In addition to this facility, we also have dedicated space at our freighter cargo terminal at Dubai World Central airport. Emirates SkyCargo has over 8,000 square meterss of dedicated pharma handling space across its two cargo terminals in Dubai. Our pharma operations at our hub, including both our terminals and our linking trucking operations, have been certified as compliant to EU GDP standards. We operate the world’s largest GDP certified multi-airport hub.

Aviation Turkey: Thank you very much for this interview…


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