Emirates sketches 2020 vision of 70 million passengers

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Emirates has set a target of carrying 70 million passengers in 2020, and says it is “progressing” plans to meet the attendant infrastructural challenge, together with partners.

The airline, which carried 39.4 million passengers in its latest financial year, intends to have more than 250 widebodies in service at the start of the next decade. Today, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows, Emirates has a 206-strong active fleet, comprised of 131 Boeing 777s, 37 Airbus A380s, 23 A330s, 12 A340s, two 747s and an A319. It has 187 aircraft on order: 70 A350s, 64 777s and 53 A380s.

If it meets its 2020 target, it will be "the largest airline on the planet by international passenger traffic", it says.

Emirates adds that it is working with Dubai Airports and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority to get the required infrastructure in place.

The airline has previously expressed concerns that planned expansion at Dubai International airport, ahead of the new hub at Dubai World Central becoming fully operational, might not keep pace with its own growth.

Dubai International is being readied to handle more than 90 million passengers by 2020, but Emirates Airline president Clark has cautioned that with the airport already handling "62-63 million" passengers a year now and growing at 15%, the 2020 traffic projection will likely be surpassed during 2016.

"By August 2016, at the current rate of growth DXB will be at 97 million passengers, of which Emirates will be about 45 million," Clark told Flightglobal Pro. "The maths tells us that compounded [we’ll reach the target] four years earlier than we thought we would. So Emirates is busy working on stand choreography in the peaks to maximise the most efficient use of the real estate."

Passenger flights are to begin at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International airport on 27 October, following the launch of freighter operations in June. Emirates’ new cargo terminal at the hub is due to be completed in May 2014.

Al Maktoum International is intended to offer capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum by the mid-2020s.