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Emirates Airline 'charging 50% more than rivals'

Research published on next day business class return to London.
Emirates airline, NEWS, Aviation

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Dubai’s Emirates Airline, the Arab world’s largest carrier, is charging over 50 percent more than its nearest rival for return, next day Business Class tickets to London.

Following a series of emails from readers, research by Arabian Business has found the Dubai-based carrier charges AED25,595 ($6,968) for so-called “next day” Business Class flights to London.

This is over 50 percent more compared to British Airways, which was AED17,021 ($4,633). Rival Virgin Atlantic is the lowest direct fare on the same route, coming it at AED12,855 ($3,499) – less than half the cost of an Emirates Airline ticket.

The fares were based on travelling Business Class Dubai-London on July 5, returning seven days later on 12 July and booked the day before travelling.

Other prominent regional carriers were also considerably less, with Qatar Airways charging AED11,365 ($3,094) to London and Germany’s Lufthansa costing AED15,915 ($4,332). However, these carriers were not direct to London.

An airline spokesperson put the higher pay scale down to high demand for Emirates Business Class seats.

“Emirates fares are developed based on a number of factors including product, destination, flight times and available seats at the time of booking. The demand for Emirates' Business Class seats typically increases the closer we get to the departure date,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“We believe competition is good for the market and remain committed to providing our customers with excellent service and a strong value-for-money proposition,” he added.

A spokesman for British Airways, which has also increased its fares closer to the date of travel, said: “BA is always monitoring the market conditions and adjusts its pricing accordingly through an inventory control system. During peak travel periods, airfares may rise or fall depending on the supply or capacity in the market and the demand.”

The news comes as Emirates, which last year reported a 52 percent rise in net profits to $1.5bn, said earlier this week it will combat a profit squeeze from higher fuel costs by slashing fares to fill its 500-seat Airbus A380s.

Emirates will resist the urge to cut routes and flights as oil prices threaten the profitability of some destinations and instead aims to stir up demand with cheaper tickets, Tim Clark, the Dubai-based carrier’s president, said in an interview.

“I can understand how irritated some airlines become, because 43 percent of our daily costs are for fuel, and it’s out of our control,” Clark said.

“But the last thing you should contemplate is capacity reduction. It’s easy to do, but it has sounded the death knell for so many carriers.”

Emirates had an 80 percent occupancy level in the year to March 31, when it boosted passengers 14 percent to 31.4 million and lifted net income 43 percent to AED5.93bn ($1.6bn) on sales that rose 26 percent to AED57.4bn.

While the low fares can help Emirates to achieve economies of scale by filling its 500-seater Airbus A380 aircraft and increase competition for other carriers, an aviation analyst from consultants Frost & Sullivan said the high fuel prices may not allow Emirates to lower down its fares for a longer period as it can further dampened the carriers’ profits.

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