Skywards set to top 300,000 members


The Emirates airline's Skywards loyalty programme will top 300,000 members by the end of its current financial year on March 31, according to a senior official.

The frequent flyer programme hit the 250,000 in its first 18 months and an average of 3,000 new members are being added every month.

The programme also extends to SriLankan Airlines, in which Emirates Group has a strategic shareholding and management rights.

While UAE-based members account for a quarter of the present total, those from the UK come in second, followed by Australia, Pakistan and India.

"We do have quite a widespread global programme, and that was our strategy from day one. The current numbers are quite a bit above levels we had anticipated at the time of the launch. At around four billion, the number of miles we have awarded so far is also quite high," said Brian LaBelle, general manager for the airline's Skywards loyalty programme.

Presently, 40 per cent of the group's business and first class revenues come from Skywards members - an average far higher than the wider airline industry standard of 25 per cent or thereabouts.

"This has been instrumental in boosting revenues. I do not know whether we can push the average much higher than what it is now. The loyalty programme is seen very much as a contributor to the group bottomline," said LaBelle.

Operating costs for the programme are around $10 million - a figure that LaBelle would like to keep steady.

Meanwhile, more partners will be brought in by early next year, which will include an international provider of financial services and an online retailer.