Flanagan, who was founding chief executive of Emirates and is now the carrier’s executive vice chairman, made his remarks to the Arabian Supply Chain portal. He didn’t rule out codeshare agreements, such as the airline’s link with US carrier JetBlue, but he felt Emirates’ acquisition of a stake in SriLankan Airlines proved a negative experience and not one he would like to see Emirates repeat. Such acquisitions were too time consuming for management, he said.
Emirates is one of the world’s most successful airlines, operating a modern fleet of 176 aircraft to 120 destinations. It’s also the world’s largest operator of B777s. But Emirates remains a maverick, outside the web of airline alliances that enfolds most other carriers.
And that’s the way Flanagan wants to see it stay. The old common-sense phrase “If it works, don’t fix it” springs to mind. Flanagan says Emirates would “never dream of” joining an international aviation alliance like oneworld or Star Alliance. Such a move would “compromise too many things” and would require the carrier’s IT system to conform with that of the alliance.
Dubai-based Emirates is growing steadily and is an acknowledged major global player. Flanagan feels the airline doesn’t need alliances or acquisitions to underscore that fact.
Over the past year, Emirates has launched routes to Copenhagen, Geneva, Dublin, Buenos Ares, Seattle, Dallas, Lusaka, Harare, St Petersburg, Baghdad and Rio de Janeiro. Soon to follow are Ho Chi Min City, Washington, Barcelona and Lisbon.
Written by : Peter Needham