Emirates once again provided travel agents and corporate clients with excellent hospitality over the five days of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (won by Rory McIlroy), during which Enda Corneille, Country Manager Ireland, outlined to Irish Travel Trade News the options for the Dublin – Dubai service.
The Emirates team hosting agents to the VIP lounge overlooking the K Club’s 18th green were (above) Filippo Rocchi, Lynsey Lamont, Anita Thomas, Lisa Rabbitte, Helena Sweeney, and Enda Corneille.
“Emirates’ theme for this year is ‘Accelerating’,” Enda told ITTN. “We have just opened routes from Dubai to Cebu and Clark International (Manila’s ‘Gatwick’) in the Philippines and in August we will commence services to Yangon in Myanmar and to Hanoi in Vietnam. November will see the introduction of our new Business Class seat.
“We made our highest profit ever in the year to 31st March 2016, with a 56% increase to Dh7.1 billion (€1.7bn) – a 8.35% margin on turnover of Dh85bn (€20.6bn) compared to the industry average of 4%.
“I took over as Country Manager in August 2014, just before the Dublin – Dubai route went double daily on 1st September. It has been a very fast two years! This change required a different selling approach to achieve high booking levels year-round and to reduce our dependence on the Dublin region.
“We took on responsibility for the Northern Ireland market and appointed four countrywide sales executives – Filippo Rocchi for Dublin corporates, Lisa Rabbitte for Dublin and Connaught leisure sales, Helena Sweeney in Munster, and Lyndsey Lamont in Northern Ireland. We also have a strong inhouse support team for agents headed by Olwyn McGlynn. While we try to serve every channel, our product is very travel agent friendly and the vast majority of bookings come through agents.”
Triple Daily or A380s?
So what is the next step for the Dublin – Dubai route: to go triple daily or introduce A380s?
“We currently offer 22,000 seats per month on the route, with a good mix of 50/50 as regards inbound and outbound bookings, and our load factors are in the 80s, so there are essentially three things we could decide to do. We could stay as we are and accept a ceiling on potential bookings, we could increase frequency to three times daily – which would help bring more onward destinations into play, or we could increase seat numbers on a double daily service by introducing A380s.
“An A380 would have around 615 seats compared with the 362 seats on our current B777s. Emirates now has 75 A380s and another 65 on order over the next three years. Much depends on the delivery dates and the strength of the demands from other destinations as to if or when Dublin would become ‘top of the list’.
“Issues at Dublin Airport? Well the runway is fine, while daa would need about six months to provide the double gangways required, and with a 100-minute turnaround target there would be fuelling and baggage logistics to sort out.
“An Emirates lounge? Yes, we are already talking about that (Emirates has a detailed specification for lounges) and it’s at the top of my list!”