Thierry Antinori, executive vice- president for passenger sales at Emirates Airline, the largest international carrier, comments on expansion plans amid the euro-zone crisis. He spoke in an interview in Ho Chi Minh City at an event to mark the carrier’s maiden flights to the city.
Emirates plans to grow capacity 18 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent increase last year, he said.
On Euro-zone crisis:
“It’s true that the euro lost against some other currencies, but we are still able to balance it with the business we can sell out of other markets. We’re monitoring, but till now, there is no reason to change our strategy, and we’ll continue to expand to Europe.
‘‘If necessary, we can re-deploy our fleet, but a lot of passengers flying on the route between Dubai and Europe are also passengers coming from Australia, India, Middle East and the Far East. The share of these passengers will grow because these customers are interested by a lower euro, to spend vacations, or to travel to these countries because it makes traveling less expensive for them.
‘‘The global worldwide size of our operations makes it possible for us to continue to stick to our growth plan despite the euro zone difficulties. And, if necessary, we’ll have contingency plans, but it’s not time now to do more than just to prepare in case.
‘‘Some other airlines are decreasing the number of flights, downsizing or downgrading their products. We won’t do that.”
“Some airlines are pulling out of Athens, Emirates is not. We are staying there on a daily basis and we’re sticking to the commitment to the market. The customer response is positive because they see Emirates is a brand you can rely on.”
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