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Old 30th Oct 2002, 19:10
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Townsville,Nth Queensland
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Emirates wants to double flights

Thurs "The Australian" 31/10/02

Emirates wants to double flights
By Steve Creedy
October 31, 2002

EMIRATES will seek traffic rights to increase the number of flights to Australia as part of growth plans that will see it more than double its aircraft fleet over the next eight years.

Emirates Group managing director Maurice Flanagan said in Sydney yesterday that the airline wanted to double service to Sydney and Melbourne to twice daily and boost Perth services to more than daily.

He said Dubai-based Emirates planned to operate from Brisbane, where it already has rights, "as we get more established".

The airline could ultimately use long-range A340-500 aircraft, due to start arriving next year, to service Sydney and Melbourne.

"Those (cities) really have to be non-stop out of Dubai, giving Sydney and Melbourne a one-stop operation to all the points we serve beyond," Mr Flanagan said.

"Theoretically, we could find ourselves offering Sydney-Dubai-Los Angeles ... certainly Sydney-Dubai-New York makes sense. Perth-Dubai-New York makes even more sense."

But Mr Flanagan said Emirates had no interest in becoming involved in starting an Australian domestic carrier and said it was never the case that it was a potential buyer of Ansett.

He said the carrier's 43 per cent interest in SriLankan Airlines had absorbed a huge amount of time and money.

Emirates has carved out a respectable niche in Australia and currently flies from Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

It intends to start flying to the US next year and expects to expand its fleet from 43 wide-body aircraft to 110, including 22 Airbus A380 super jumbos, by 2010.

The airline employs more than 500 Australians and spends about $4 million a year sponsoring sporting events and teams as well as the Australian Film Institute.

It is among a handful of airlines, including Qantas, that remained profitable after the September 11 terrorist attack.
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