DUBAI’S Emirates airline said it was not planning to bid for British Airways as it was in the middle of a huge expansion plan.
“We have no intention of making a bid for British Airways,” Mike Simon, division vice president for corporate communications said. “We are in the middle of a very expansive growth plan ourselves, and we’re not going to buy.”
While a takeover could actually give wings to those expansion plans, complex ownership processes would need to be ironed out first: currently, British Airways needs to be majority owned by UK nationals to retain its flying rights, according to experts.
The airline has also confirmed that it will not cancel the A380 order, despite manufacturing delays in manufacturing the world’s biggest passenger aircraft. “We are not considering cancelling our order,” Reuters quoted an Emirates official as saying. “We have not thought about that.”
Emirates said it was informed by the Airbus, which is controlled by European aerospace company EADS, of a further six-month delay in deliveries and that it hoped to put the aircraft into operation by January 2008. Emirates has ordered 43 of the A380 planes, which carry a list price of $300 million – by far the largest order for the plane.
Emirates is also considering an order from Boeing or Airbus that could be worth up to $20 billion for mid-sized airliners. The airline said last month that once the two manufacturers settle on their respective offerings to Emirates for mid-sized planes, it could purchase up to 100 aircraft.
Emirates is to issue its second UAE dirham bond in July, The Gulf Daily News quoted an airline official as saying. This new $500m issue has Emirates Financial Service, HSBC Bank Middle East and the National Bank of Dubai as joint lead managers and joint book runners. The issue will be listed on the Dubai Financial Market, and institutional investors based in the UAE and other GCC states can invest in the bond. The airline recently announced the successful close of its debut Singapore dollar bond issue at S$400 million, after selling it in three tranches totaling $250.9 million.
Emirates’ inflight entertainment has received a resounding customer ovation by securing the Best Inflight Entertainment award at the recent Skytrax 2006 World Airline Awards. This is the second year in a row that Emirates has been chosen for the accolade.
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