AB25: Emirates president Tim Clark

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By: Tim Clark

President
Emirates Airlines

 

"Protectionism still limits traveller choice and erects barriers to international trade"

 

tim clark

Emirates shares a 25th birthday with Airline Business, having also launched in 1985. Over the past quarter of a century, our industry has taken great strides forward. It is essential that we maintain this momentum in the next 25 years to ensure the continued success of the airline sector and its contribution to the global economy.

Since 1985, the skies have undoubtedly become more liberalised. Many markets now have "open skies" policies, something we've always promoted in Dubai. It allows new entrants to operate, increases competition and, ultimately, consumer choice. However, crude protectionism still limits traveller choice and erects barriers to international trade in many markets. Governments need to realise that this is an unrealistic strategy in today's global marketplace. Our goal for the next 25 years should be to achieve "open skies" globally.

The range of long-haul aircraft has increased dramatically - a fundamental development which has been crucial to our growth. We now have aircraft that can fly non-stop to almost any major city in the world from Dubai. These technological advances have also enabled the industry to reduce the impact of its operations. The A380 is an excellent example, burning 20% less fuel than the next largest aircraft and with better fuel efficiency than a hybrid car.

The airline industry has never been particularly effective at communicating these impressive developments, and we need to improve this. Nor can we rest on our laurels - we must continue to invest in improving the environmental efficiency of aircraft. A crucial part of this is the development of next-generation biofuels, which reduce emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels, while not taking up the land and resources used to produce food.

We need to continue to find ways of flying aircraft more efficiently. Developments such as flexible routings and tailored arrivals are a start, but we need more effective air-traffic management across national boundaries.

Technology has improved the passenger experience too. 25 years ago, the standard in-flight entertainment experience was an overhead projector screen offering no choice and often poor sound and visual quality. Today, we are able to offer passengers more than 1,000 channels on demand, and the chance to use their mobile phones to stay in touch.

Over the past quarter of a century, the airline sector has helped to transform the world into a global marketplace, making travel possible for ever-increasing numbers of people. At the same time, we've evolved into a more dynamic, innovative and environmentally-conscious industry. We must continue this evolution in the years ahead.

Congratulations to the team at Airline Business for a quarter of a century of excellence in their insightful reporting of our industry.

FACTFILE

Emirates launched flights in October 1985 with a service from Dubai to Karachi. Today it operates a fleet of more than 150 aircraft, with revenues of $11.6 billion

 

THE SCALE OF EMIRATES SUCCESS

Tim Clark has been at the forefront of Emirates'expansion since its launch in 1985, working together with chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and executive vice-chairman Maurice Flanagan. Its history has since been punctuated with massive aircraft orders.