A senior delegation from Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing airlines, officiated a roadshow in Beijing Tuesday to introduce its services in preparation for the launch of its daily non-stop service from Dubai to Beijing on September 1.
Senior executives Edwin Lau (L) and Richard Vaughan (R)
Senior executives representing Emirates included Richard Vaughan, senior vice president in charge of commercial operations in East Asia and Australasia, and Edwin Lau, the airline's regional manager for Greater China and Northeast Asia.
Since its establishment in 1985, Emirates has won more than 300 international awards in recognition of its customer service, reportedly one of the best in the industry. It is the world's third most profitable airline, and is among the fastest-growing and 20 largest international civil aviation companies.
According to Vaughan: "China's eminence in today's world economic order is well established and recognized. The addition of the Beijing service, our second Chinese mainland route, is a clear illustration of our ongoing confidence in and commitment to the country.
"The new route will help foster greater business, tourism and cultural exchanges between Beijing and Dubai -- both symbols of phenomenal growth and strategic vision. Our roadshow in Beijing is the perfect warm-up for the launch of our services in September."
In 2005, bilateral trade volume between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was worth US$10.77 billion, an increase of more than 32 percent compared to 2004. A great number of Chinese business travelers are already familiar with the UAE, while in Dubai there's a great deal of interest in rapidly-growing Beijing.
"Given the existing synergies between the UAE and China, starting a direct service to Beijing was the next logical step for Emirates," Vaughan added. He said that the new direct flight services will facilitate travel flow in both directions and will encourage a greater exchange of business, tourism and culture.
Beijing will be Emirates' third destination in China, after Hong Kong and Shanghai, and the 18th in the Asia Pacific region.
Vaughan hinted that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, at end of this year will greatly promote Emirates' new business in Beijing. Emirates is no stranger to grand sports events, having sponsored many including the recently concluded FIFA Football World Cup in Germany.
Page Wang, public relations spokesperson for Emirates, told China.org.cn that the new Dubai-Beijing service demonstrates the airline's ambitions and commitment to China market.
"We anticipate a strong year and profitable operations with relatively high load factors. Now that Europe and more than 10 African countries are open to Chinese visitors, travel agents have Emirates as their carrier of choice," she said.
"In addition, Dubai is introducing its own tourist attractions to the Chinese. It is a well-integrated destination that combines Arabian traditions and a cosmopolitan life. Furthermore, in accordance with World Trade Organization commitments, the China travel market was open to 117 countries by the end of March 2006 and will gradually open to more."
Describing Emirates' competitive advantages, Wang said: "Emirates is based in Dubai, one of the few places in the world that has an open-skies policy. Currently, more than 110 airlines operate there in free and fair competition. For Emirates, our success lies in an efficient cost structure combined with top-notch customer service and a focused core management team that has been together for many years. We have a young, dynamic and well-trained workforce, and the company's culture strongly encourages creative solutions to business challenges. We have invested in an ultra-modern fleet with high-end technology that also contributes to our efficiency."
Emirates' growth has been above 20 percent a year on average. It has been profitable for the last 18 years consecutively. It carried 14.5 million passengers in the 2005-06 financial year -- 2 million more than the year before -- and declared a record US$674 million profit, an increase of 2.8 percent over the previous year, on revenue of US$6.6 billion.
Edwin Lau announced that the new Beijing office, which boasts the largest ticketing counter of all international airlines in the city, is open for business.
Lau said: "The office will also handle all queries and bookings related to our divisions such as Emirates SkyCargo, our frequent flyer program Skywards, the leisure and holiday division, Emirates Holidays, and Dubai's premier ground tour operator Arabian Adventures."
According to Lau, Emirates will ply the Dubai-Beijing route in an Airbus A340-300 offering 267 seats -- 12 in First Class, 42 in Business and 213 in Economy -- and 13 tons of cargo capacity.
Passengers can look forward to Chinese movies for entertainment, and a wide-ranging menu serving up dishes including dim sum, Indian curry and steak.
Emirates started flying to Hong Kong in 1991. Shanghai was next with its SkyCargo weekly freighter service between Dubai and Shanghai in September 2002. This was increased to six flights a week in October 2005.
In March 2004, Emirates opened its Shanghai Representative Office, which was followed by a thrice-a-week passenger service in April. Daily flights were added just two months after.
According to Wang, the Dubai-Shanghai service is doing well, the last several months seeing full occupancy.
She declined to disclose figures and would only say that the Asia Pacific region is an important market for Emirates, accounting for 30 percent of the airline's total revenue, and 32 percent of the total cargo carried.
If Beijing operations prove successful, Vaughan indicated that two more destinations in China could be opened at a later date.
From Emirates' hub in Dubai, passengers and cargo from China can quickly and conveniently connect to the airline's 23 destinations in North America and Europe, 14 in Africa, and 13 in the Middle East.
Emirates is still waiting for more than 100 aircraft to be delivered, including 45 A380 super jumbos, worth approximately US$28 billion in list prices. On July 17, Airbus announced that production issues were the cause of the delay.
Emirates held the press conference at China World Hotel, Beijing on July 18
Beijing team: Cargo Manager Nancy Lai, Edwin Lau, Richard Vaughan and Sales Manager Adam Li (from L to R except for stewardesses)
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Zhang Rui, July 20, 2006)