Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Airline, has order 55 superjumbo Airbus A380 passenger jets, to create the biggest fleet of these double-decker airplanes in the world. His plan to to make Dubai the busiest international airline hub in the world, bigger than London, New York and Singapore.
This ambitious plan is not unusual for Sheik Ahmed: He built Emirates from just two planes and only $10 million in 1985 into the world’s eighth largest international carrier, with a fleet of 105 widebody aircraft currently. It is not only the world’s fastest-growing airline, it is also one of the most consistently profitable. It has been profitable ofr 19 of the airline’s 20 years in business; it receives no state subsidies.
Sheik Ahmed was at the recent Paris Air Show to meet industry leaders — and to shop. He added another eight more A380s to his order, with a list price of $2.6 billion. He also has plans to spend another $82 billion on aviation, icluding building a new $33 billion Dubai airport with six runways. Plans show it to be twice the size of Hong Kong Island and the world’s largest airport complex. Mr. Cullermore of Aviation Economics Consulting said Emirates’ strategy is likely to be effective because there is a need for another big hub to connect traffic between cities in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Sheik Ahmed clearly is planning for the future and believes commercial aviation worldwide will continue to grow and expand.