Emirates scrums down with Qantas

Emirates scrums down with Qantas
Emirates has signed up referee Nigel Owens in its latest advertising campaign that targets new customers in rugby-loving Australasia. (Reuters)
Updated 27 September 2017

Emirates scrums down with Qantas

Emirates scrums down with Qantas

LONDON: He may not have quite the popular appeal of Jennifer Aniston, but the star of the latest Emirates campaign should raise a laugh from passengers down under as the Dubai carrier recasts its competitive relationship with Qantas.
As Qantas ditches its Dubai stopover, Emirates this month recruited Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens to appeal to passengers in New Zealand and Australia.
Earlier this month, Dubai’s flagship airline launched a fourth daily Dubai-Sydney service from next March, as it seeks to grow crucial Australasian traffic through the emirate.
Owens — who is considered by many as one of the world’s top referees — follows in the footsteps of Hollywood actress Aniston, who was featured when the Dubai airline faced another competitive threat two years ago from rival US airlines.
In one of the adverts, the Welsh referee is seen breaking up an embracing couple before a flight call to Auckland is announced, warning the woman for “not releasing.”
Emirates’ new Sydney service — to be launched next March — will increase passenger capacity on the route by 6,846 seats a week and represents a 7.3 percent increase in capacity for Emirates’ Australian services.
Earlier this year, Emirates said it would introduce a third daily service between Dubai and Brisbane from Dec. 1.
It is also planning to use the larger A380 superjumbo on its Dubai to Melbourne service from next March, further increasing the airline’s passenger capacity on routes to and from Australia.
The airline announced its 16-hour Dubai-Auckland route in March 2016, and was the longest scheduled long-haul flight to date until Qatar Airways launched its Doha-Auckland route in February.
There have been some temporary difficulties in September with Emirates’ direct route to Auckland due to a chronic shortage of jet fuel in New Zealand. The Dubai-Auckland route was being diverted via Melbourne for a couple of weeks in September for refueling, extending the length of the journey.
Emirates’ expansion into the region comes after Qantas said in August it was moving its stopover hub back to Singapore from Dubai next March.
The two airlines signed a partnership agreement back in 2012 which saw the stopover hub moved to Dubai. The carriers renewed their partnership in August and customers of both airlines will continue to have access to a number of codeshare destinations and shared frequent flyer benefit schemes.
“The biggest impact to Emirates and the Dubai hub was the original partnership deal that gave Emirates even more momentum in Australia and New Zealand since Emirates became affiliated with Qantas,” said Will Horton, an analyst with Capa-Center for Aviation. “That element remains even after Qantas exits Dubai, so Emirates still has high relevancy in Australia and New Zealand it can leverage for future growth.”
Emirates’ ambitious plans to expand into Australia and New Zealand could further bolster the already record-breaking volume of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport.
The airport — which is already the world’s busiest — saw a record August, announcing on Tuesday that more than 8.2 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport, compared to 7.7 million recorded in August 2016.
This marks an increase of 6.6 percent in passenger traffic.
According to the airport’s August figures, the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage was South America (27.4 percent), followed by Asia (21.9 percent) and Eastern Europe (18.8 percent). India remains the top destination country, followed by the UK and Saudi Arabia.