Asia Pacific airlines cheer strong recovery, increasing demand for luxury air travel

Emirates said its flights are fully booked through to the first quarter of next year.

The airline exceeded its financial expectations in the previous year, and its president Tim Clark said this year’s results look on track to perform even better due to heightened demand.

Operating capacity is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, with about 16 to 20 of the carrier’s Airbus A380s still grounded and undergoing technical remediation.

With demand outstripping supply, ticket prices are likely to remain high.

Like Emirates, many Asian carriers are also facing the same issue of trying to get capacity back up to pre-pandemic numbers, said Mr Clark, citing Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Malaysia Airlines.

“I’m afraid prices are likely to stay where they are until there is an adjustment of the supply-demand equation. This is a problem for the Asian markets particularly – they are very strong in terms of demand from the West, and vice versa,” he said.

“I can’t quite see the capacity restoring at the pace to get them back to where they were prior to the COVID situation. And where the capacity doesn’t meet the demand, prices will remain as they are.”

Emirates is putting in a substantial order of between 100 and 150 new planes as its fleet of A380s is set to retire in the next 10 years.

Mr Clark also said the premium travel market looks set to grow exponentially.

The airline introduced a premium economy cabin in August last year with 56 seats on the main deck of its A380s.

“They are completely full,” said Mr Clark, adding the take-up rate has been overwhelming.

“People are not trading down from the upper deck. They are coming up from economy (class). We already knew that in the higher price point segments of the economy, if people could get more by paying a little bit more, they would take it. We underestimated the demand.”


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