HAVING successfully promoted both Malta and Dubai as top class destinations, Emirates airline is planning another leap forward from September 2006 by increasing its frequency on the Dubai-Malta sector, bringing the weekly flights count to five.
“From a Twice weekly frequency in 1998, Emirates has come a long way and is currently is the second largest carrier after Air Malta, operating out of this Mediterranean destination,” Paul Fleri Soler, Emirates manager for Malta and Cyprus says. When the operations were launched, both destinations were quite unknown however, by motivating the tour operators, Emirates has managed to promote Dubai among the Maltese tourists and there has been a significant increase in the passenger traffic to Dubai.
“During the shopping festival alone we take some 1000 passengers to Dubai which is becoming a popular holiday destination for Maltese and our year round passenger-load for Dubai as a destination stays around four to five thousand,” he points out.
Still passenger traffic from Dubai is far less than what Emirates is carrying from Malta but with the cooperation of authorities in terms of visa restrictions and promotional campaigns Soler saw a strong possibility of an increase. “Right now visa approvals take at least seven days to come. If we can cut down the process time, we can pick up last minute business. I am sure with right promotional efforts and lenient visa process we will see a significant increase in passenger load originating from Dubai.”
Some 50 per cent of total tourists who visit Malta are from UK followed by other European and Scandinavian countries, and Middle East traffic is negligible compared to Europe. However, Emirates does fly a lot of passengers from various destinations to Malta giving them convenient flight breaks. “Passenger traffic from Australia has always been vital for our operations as there are lots of Maltese expatriates settled in Australian continent. We lift traffic passenger loads from Australia and bring them to Malta and back. Emirates is also picking up passenger loads from Far East as Malta is a popular destination in that region,” says Soler.
The Emirates’ cargo operation is a major revenue earner on this sector. “We earn substantially from cargo. The Airbus A330-200 can carry 13 tonnes of cargo and our incoming average stays at 7 to 10 tonnes while the outgoing cargo per flight is four to five tonnes. Majority of the cargo is sent to Far Eastern destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong,” says Soler.
Emirates originally operated on the Dubai-Malta sector via Athens which was later substituted by Tripoli. Now Emirates is granted traffic rights to Larnaca, Cyprus allowing the airline to pick up and drop passengers and cargo. Emirates’ four-weekly frequency has now opens more new connections between Larnaca and Malta.