Emirates, the largest international airline, is planning to expand in Africa with at least 10 new routes by 2025 and a jet fleet worth $10 billion to $12 billion, according to President Tim Clark.
The carrier is seeking African destinations with oil and gas reserves that need regular transport for people and cargo, Clark told reporters at the Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai, where it’s based. The company is also considering opportunities in West African countries such as Equatorial Guinea and Togo.
“These are all potentials for us to link at some point or the other in the future,” Clark said. “Africa is a growth story and the opportunities are enormous, we will continue to grow there.”
Emirates is seeing a drop in demand for flights to Africa from Asia because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, he said. The airline flies to 22 destinations on the continent and has planes worth about $7 billion operating there.
“There are indications that demand in the east is coming off a little bit because of a perception that Ebola is Africa- wide, but it certainly isn’t,” Clark said. “There are segments of our business in China, Taiwan and Vietnam that are fairly cautious about what they do, but for every one of those that we lose we fill it with something else. There’s always business to be done in Africa.”
Emirates will take delivery of 24 aircraft in 2015, Clark said. The carrier has recourse to a range of financing instruments including operating leases.
To contact the reporter on this story: Deena Kamel Yousef in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at email@example.com.