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Pakistan is crucial market for Emirates due to the diaspora and business connections with UAE

Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi is the Vice President Pakistan for Emirates airline. Mohammed brings with him extensive experience in the aviation industry, which spans over 17 years. He has a track record of successfully uplifting the airline’s operations in challenging markets. Previously, he was the Emirates VP for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Following are the edited excerpts of a recent conversation BR Research had with Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi:

BR Research: Tell us about yourself and your journey with Emirates?

Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi: As Vice President - Pakistan for Emirates airline, I have been leading the airline’s operations in the country since 2021. In my role, one of my major objectives is to drive growth and strengthen Emirates’ footprint in Pakistan. Previously, I was the VP for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I began my career at Emirates nearly 20 years ago, in 2004, and between 2006 and 2016, I held various Manager Positions, leading Emirates ’operations in Syria, Indonesia and Kuwait. My career in the aviation industry has taken me to different markets and provided me with unique and enjoyable experiences.

I would also like to add that being stationed in Pakistan; I love the food and the hospitality of the Pakistani people.

BRR: How do you view the Pakistani market in terms of the airline industry, demand, regulations etc.?

MA: Emirates and Pakistan share a special relationship, which goes back more than 38 years ago when our first ever flight from Dubai landed in Karachi on 25th October 1985. Since then, this historic partnership has continued blossoming with Emirates offering world-class services to Pakistan’s major cities in the North, South and Central regions of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Sialkot with 53 weekly flights.

Having said this, we are continuously assessing the market, its performance and needs, and we are ready if there are opportunities for us to further expand our presence enhance capacity or scale up our passenger services. In our commitment to Pakistan and our customers in this market, we continue to focus on providing them with the best customer experience throughout the customer journey, from the time of booking till after arrival at the destination, made possible through our world-class products and services.

The Pakistani market is crucial for Emirates, given the significant diaspora and business connections between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Serving as a bridge between Pakistan and the tourism and economic hub of Dubai along with the rest of the world, Pakistan is a vital market from where travellers quite frequently fly. As the region’s development continues, we expect increased demand which will drive us to introduce more features that will improve the customer experience. We see a lot of demand for flights to the US and the UK, which are very popular sectors for Pakistanis and our home and hub, Dubai, remains one of the most popular segments for Pakistanis. We see strong growth coming out of Pakistan and it has been evident in our network expansion decisions over the last few years.

Emirates has received continuous admiration and support not just from passengers but the authorities as well, paving the way for a friendlier environment that further supports our goal of connecting our Dubai to Pakistan more effortlessly. I foresee extensive infrastructure development, partnerships, and alliances in the future that will not only facilitate Emirates’ operations but also act as a catalyst for cultural exchange, business growth, and leisure travel.

BRR: As a VP Pakistan, what is your main goal for Pakistan?

MA: My aim is to successfully uplift the airline’s operations in Pakistan and add value to the market. The aviation industry in this part of the world has huge potential and we are playing an active part in helping it grow. The UAE and Pakistan share a relationship that goes back a long way, with Karachi being the first destination that Emirates flew to in 1985, and that is reflected in the relationship the people of both countries share.

BRR: What is Emirates current fleet size in Pakistan and routes? Do you see any changes in the coming years given the dynamics of the country?

MA: Emirates has 262 aircraft in its fleet, comprising the wide body A380s and Boeing 777 aircraft and 11 dedicated freighters to support the airline’s cargo operations. To support its current and future operations, Emirates has an additional 310 wide-body aircraft on order, comprising Boeing 777-9s, 777-8s, and 787s, and A350-900s.

Emirates has the world’s largest fleet of double-decker A380 aircraft, with 116 aircraft. Currently we have more than more than 25 aircraft which include Premium Economy cabins and serve select destinations in our network. A massive retrofit programme is currently underway to refurbish 67 A380 aircraft to include the Premium Economy cabin. A further 53 Boeing 777s will also undergo a retrofit to include Premium Economy seats and a refreshed look and feel throughout the aircraft.

BRR: What is Emirates’ USP and competitive edge especially for travellers from Pakistan?

MA: Emirates boasts a robust and expansive global network that connects passengers to over 140 destinations through its strategic hub in Dubai. Our global network is a cornerstone, providing extensive and seamless connectivity to destinations across six continents. For passengers seeking convenient connections and a well-rounded travel experience, Emirates stands out.

Emirates has solidified its position as a global leader in air travel through its partnerships with 157 airlines and rail providers. These partnerships facilitate extended access to over 800 cities in 100 countries, offering travellers an even wider array of destinations to choose from. This network of collaborations provides passengers with convenient options and ensures that Emirates remains a highly competitive and versatile choice for global travel.

Dubai International airport serves as a pivotal hub, offering seamless connections and a world-class travel experience. The strategic location of Dubai makes it an ideal stopover for passengers travelling between Pakistan and other international destinations. We operate one of the youngest and most modern fleets globally, ensuring that passengers from Pakistan enjoy state-of-the-art aircraft with cutting-edge technology, spacious cabins, and exceptional in-flight services.

Our award-winning products and services provide premium experience across all of our cabins, including elevated dining, in-flight entertainment, comfort and other perks, including access to our premium lounges before flights and chauffeur drive services on arrival and departure at select airports. Our award-winning loyalty programme, Emirates Skywards, also provides our loyal customers with many opportunities to earn and redeem awards with Emirates and other partners across the globe.

Cultural sensitivity is another hallmark of our service. We offer Halal meals and consider the diverse cultural preferences of our passengers, a thoughtful and inclusive approach that resonates with travellers from Pakistan. In essence, Emirates positions itself as the preferred choice, offering a combination of convenience, luxury, and a steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction for travellers from Pakistan.

In the period of 1 April to 30 September 2023, Emirates carried over 26 million passengers, up 31 percent from the same period last year, with average seat load factors exceeding 80 percent across its global network to Dubai. Key inbound markets to Dubai, the hub for Emirates, included the UK, India, Germany, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia. This diversity of routes and passenger origins highlights the airline’s global reach and customer appeal. Dubai continues to be one of the favourite destinations for Indian travellers.

For the first nine months of 2023, Dubai welcomed over 12.4 million overnight visitors, up 22 percent over the same period in 2022. Pakistan was amongst the top 10 source markets contributing to the record number of overnight visitors to Dubai, with over 250,000 visitors. This underscores the significance of Pakistan’s travellers to Emirates’ and Dubai’s overall success in the tourism sector.

BRR: Globally, how do you view the airline industry in the post Covid era? What changes have been permanent and what trends have picked up off late?

MA: In the post-Covid era, the global airline industry has witnessed enduring changes and emerging trends. We recognize the lasting importance of elevated health and safety standards, with a sustained commitment to rigorous hygiene measures throughout the travel journey.

The acceleration of digital transformation is reshaping the passenger experience, with contactless technologies becoming integral. Emirates embraces this trend, investing in cutting-edge technology to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Flexibility has become paramount, influencing booking and cancellation policies. Emirates responds to evolving travel needs by offering more flexible ticket options. Corporate travel patterns are shifting with the rise of remote work, and Emirates is adapting its services to cater to the changing needs of business travellers. After covid, we introduced premium Economy to cater to business and leisure travellers that would like to enjoy more levels of comfort, more legroom, and an elevated experience overall. The product is appropriately priced between Economy and Business class fares.

Sustainability is a central theme, and Emirates continues its commitment to eco-friendly practices, investing in fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable initiatives. The concept of “travel bubbles” and bilateral agreements gains prominence, facilitating international travel with a focus on safety.

All in all, the post-Covid era has reshaped the industry, and Emirates strategically navigates these changes with a focus on safety, technology, flexibility, sustainability, and adapting to evolving travel patterns.

Comments

200 characters
ENGR Hamid Shafiq Jan 09, 2024 10:25am
Quality and service from Karachi to Dubai is so bad may be the person disagree with me better to his own eyes what services and quality offer beyond Dubai on EU and USA routes compare with Karachi-Duabi.
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Fatima Jan 14, 2024 08:26pm
@ENGR Hamid Shafiq, No genuine completion, would you risk PIA ?
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