Emirates has dropped its business class fare to shore up occupancy on its flights as demand for premium traffic in Europe and the US remains subdued. The Dubai-based airline has announced a three-day sale on its business class worldwide beginning today and for travel between July 12 and August 4. The new fares are about 20 per cent lower than its normal fares. Emirates operates all wide-body aircraft to 134 destinations globally and has 185 weekly flights to India, the highest by any foreign carrier. About 60-70 per cent sales of its India flights happen locally. It operates five daily flights to Mumbai each having 42 business class seats.
This adds to 210 business class seats to Mumbai alone which it needs to fill up daily. In contrast, rival Etihad Airways flies only daily flight between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai with 16 business class seats.
Emirates flies to 10 destinations in India and has flown 26 million passengers from India over the last 10 years. It has over 12 percent market share of India’s total international traffic. About 55 percent of all Emirates passengers travel onward. The discount sale has been launched to boost forward bookings in the holy month of Ramadan, which begins next month.
“I think their load factors are low,” a travel agent said.
According to sources, Emirates load factors between India and the United Arab Emirates are above 80 percent for most part of the year. “I think the Emirates sale could be a part of strategy to take on Jet-Etihad alliance,” said Pradip Lulla, general secretary of Travel Agents Federation of India.
“Emirates provides specially tailored products and service to its business class passengers to accommodate their requirements while on the move; from priority check-in to baggage handling, chauffeur drive service and dedicated lounges and excellent onboard catering”, said Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, the airline’s vice-president for India.
“This sale offers added extra value that further enhances the entire premium package making it even more rewarding to choose Emirates.”