Sheikh Ahmed: Emirates 'back to normal'

Airline chief says carrier has 'no problem' funding future aircraft.
NEWS, Aviation


Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline, said on Sunday the airline was "back to normal" following the impact of the Icelandic ash cloud.

He added that he was "very positive" that the airline would be able to cover the loss that had been incurred during the six-day shutdown on UK and European airspace.

"I think as we see today, everything is back to normal, as we see the flow of the passengers," he said in an interview with Emirates Business 24/7 on Dubai One TV.

Sheikh Ahmed also said that Emirates Airline was in a "very strong" financial position and would have "no problem" in terms of financing its future aircraft.

He said the global economic crisis had not forced its fleet expansion plans to be put on hold, adding that an announcement of A380 orders would be made soon.

"I don't see any problem for Emirates in terms of financing its future aircraft. I think we built a very nice profile, an excellent profile with all the financial institutions over the last five years, being very credible in terms of all our payments going out from the airline to those people we owe any cash or money," he said.

On whether the UAE would one day see a united airline, Sheikh Ahmed added: "You know we hope that one day something like that will happen but I always believe, with the many airlines we have today, that we'll always keep it."

On oil prices, he said that the airline saw a "reasonable price" as being between $80-90.

Last week, Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said that the airline's $66m losses incurred during the Icelandic ash cloud disruption would not be covered by insurance but added that the airline was in good shape to cope with a two-week shutdown.

"We will just have to live with that," Clark said, adding that the carrier would not increase fares in an effort to recoup losses caused by the volcano eruption. "We don't need funds, we are in good shape. If it goes on for two weeks we can handle it."

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