As Emirates reach a decision with Airbus and sign their deal for 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s, the future of the airline is becoming clear. Taking the focus away from hub to hub operations, Emirates look to be moving to a more regional strategy.
While the A350 is a natural successor to the A380, already being used by many operators for their long haul operations, the deal for the A330s is a whole new ballgame for Emirates. It will be the smallest aircraft in their fleet, totally bucking the trend for ‘bigger is better’ at the carrier.
What they do with these smaller jets remains to be seen, but we can make an educated guess.
More regional routes from Dubai
There’s a growing trend in aviation for passengers to prefer point to point services over the traditional hub-and-spoke arrangements we’ve seen to date. Anyone who’s transferred through a mega-hub will already know the pain that goes with connecting from a long haul flight.
Qatar have successfully launched many more regional routes using their A320s, and it looks like Emirates want a piece of the pie. Smaller jets mean there are more airports open for landing, and we fully expect to see significant addition of routes at three to five hours flying time from Dubai over the coming years.
What about FlyDubai?
Both Emirates and FlyDubai are owned by the government, and FlyDubai already operate an extensive regional network using a fleet of 737s. Surely there’s going to be a massive overlap in services if Emirates launch more regional routes?
This could potentially point towards a merger between the two state owned airlines, although nothing to that end has been mooted publicly yet. Perhaps when they both move to the forthcoming Dubai World City airport it would be a good time to consolidate.
Do you think Emirates and FlyDubai will merge? Let us know in the comments.