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Emirates ‘flies against grain’ with $2bn investment pledge

The Dubai airline plans to enhance its inflight customer experience across all cabins
  • Aircraft interiors to undergo retrofit
  • ‘Cinema in the sky’ and vegan food will be introduced
  • Dom Perignon and caviar on the menu for first class travellers

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has taken a swipe at his rivals, pledging to invest $2 billion while claiming others are cutting costs in response to industry pressures.

The Dubai airline plans to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins starting in 2022.

“While others respond to industry pressures with cost cuts, Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers,” Clark said.

“Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. 

“Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.”

The airline’s latest initiatives include elevated meal choices, a new vegan menu, a “cinema in the sky” experience, cabin interior upgrades and sustainable choices, a statement said.

Glass, Meal, Food
The Champagne and Caviar Experience

Emirates said its first class service is being “upped a notch” with the Champagne and Caviar Experience as part of a “dine on demand” service, featuring Dom Perignon vintage champagne. 

Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer the luxury brand on-board.

Other luxury touches include the Cinema in the Sky where first class customers can order snacks such as lobster rolls, sliders, edamame and salted popcorn as they enjoy movies on the inflight entertainment system. 

In a food sustainability push, Emirates’ customers departing on flights from Dubai can enjoy fresh greens harvested from Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm – a newly-opened $40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering. 

The most significant investment is a refurbishment of the aircraft fleet interiors, where cabins will be retrofitted with new or reupholstered seats, new panelling, flooring and other cabin features.

Burger, Food, Snack
Popcorns and snacks served while enjoying the inflight entertainment

Separately, Sharjah-based Air Arabia, the Middle East & North Africa’s largest low-cost carrier operator, today reported a 10-fold increase in net profit in the first six months of 2022 as recovery in air travel demand continued.

The airline reported a net profit of AED451 million compared to AED44 million for the corresponding period in 2021.

In the same period, the airline posted a turnover of AED2.24 billion, a 110 percent increase.

More than 5.2 million passengers flew with Air Arabia between January and June, an increase of 131 percent compared to the same period last year. 

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said: “We have continued with our network expansion strategy in the second quarter of this year by increasing the fleet size, adding new routes and new frequencies across all operating hubs.

“We’re also continuing with preparations for the launch of our new ventures in Armenia and Pakistan. 

“The global aviation industry continues to face geopolitical challenges, the impact of higher oil prices and uncertainty towards full economic recovery.

Despite all these challenges, we have full confidence in the business model we operate, and the crucial role that the aviation industry plays in supporting regional and global economic growth.”