Emirates not perturbed with slipping to third position in India’s international passenger segment, says Essa Sulaiman Ahmad

Global aviation giant Emirates is not perturbed with fall in its position in the international segment linked to India. Dubai-based airline which has built a formidable base in the country  in last three decades (largest foreign airline in the country with a weekly frequency of 185 flights with 10 Indian destinations on its route map) has recently come down to third position in terms of ferrying passengers on international routes from/to India, a segment which is now led by Jet Airways and Air India.

Essa Sulaiman Ahmad“ We are not worried. The important consideration for us is: what best we have done for Indian travellers and in linking India to other parts of the world all through our journey of three decades. And we are quite satisfied where we are. Other airlines will also grow and at the end of the day we have to see how we can deliver better,” Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, VP ( India and Nepal), Emirates Airline told TourismFirst on the sidelines of a seminar recently in Delhi.

Emirates presently offers a capacity of 60,200 weekly seats in its Indian operations but its plea to enhance its capacity has not been met favourably for quite sometime. The airline is waiting for new bilateral rights to be signed between the two countries to take its Indian operations to the next level. “ We have completely exhausted the existing bilateral rights. But there will always be talks at the government level and we are positively looking at it. The number of international passengers to/from India is likely to shoot up to 85 million by 2020 which would mark a huge jump of 67 percent over the existing base and given our strong presence, Emirates will have to play a major role in it,” Ahmad added.

Meanwhile at the seminar, noted economic research agency National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) released a report which indirectly supports Emirates’ claim of being given more flying rights in India. According to the report, Emirates’ operations (at the existing scale) have contributed over US$848 million annually to India’s GDP, supporting over 86,000 Indian jobs and generating almost US$1.7 billion in Foreign Exchange Earnings. And this contribution to the national economy would grow further if Emirates is allowed to  expand in the future.

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