Emirates Airline president predicts short-term pain for airline industry but sees some recovery in 2021

[Ref Flight International Magazine 9 – 15 June 2020]

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark says the airline industry will begin to improve gradually during 2021.

However, a full recovery could be several years away and will likely be driven by the availability of a vaccine, he warns.

Clark says that the pace of recovery in passenger demand has been slower than hoped so Emirates is having to evaluate adjusting the size of the carrier.

While the airline industry will adapt operations to minimise the risk of contamination through introducing cleaning regimes, protective clothing and masks, Clark says he is betting on the recovery being powered by the creation of a vaccine.

Emirates effectively ceased passenger operations on 25 March, and has grounded all of its 115 Airbus A380s. However, a large part of its Boeing 777 fleet has remained operational by virtue of a switch to cargo flights.

“We converted ourselves into a mini UPS – today we have 85 -300ERs flying, and 11 777Fs on top of that, so 96 of our fleet of 153 777s are operating,” he says.

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