To use an aviation term, the travel world is in a “line up and wait” mode. Be ready to roll when things return, but for now, it’s just a lot of waiting around. Emirates was among the airlines eyeing to be first into the skies when travel resumes, but news today shows a delay to those optimistic plans.
Emirates has been at the center of airline news in recent weeks, leading the way with proposals for rapid health screenings prior to flight in hopes of creating safer travel environments.
Obviously, anything that helps governments open up borders is good for the travel industry. But Unable to move the needle for demand as countries battle second wave concerns, Emirates has shifted its flying schedule to a third quarter 2020 return, rather than the second.
According to Routes Online, Emirates has “zeroed out” its previously proposed passenger flight schedule, due to resume in mid May. The airline is currently completing final repatriation flights, returning travelers to their home countries, and no other regularly scheduled passenger flights are expected in the interim.
The schedule now shows no bookable flights from May 15th through June 30th, signalling that the airline may have been bullish in terms of a planned return to the skies. As one of the best equipped to do so, it’s bad news for other airlines in the ‘watch and see’ environment.
Emirates newly published schedule shows flights available as of July 1st, but that’s obviously subject to change. It could improve, but it’s more likely to stick, or push back further. With news of a reboot delay, it’s a collective sigh from the airline world.
As an airline typically shuffling passengers between other countries rather than into its home in Dubai, UAE, the airline is more nimble than most. Basically, the airline doesn’t need to fill planes with people bound just for Dubai, but is instead able to sell flights from one end to another, giving it added flexibility and less route pressure than others.
If Emirates is taking a punt until July 1st, it’s hard to imagine any other airlines jumping into the mix and ramping up operations beforehand. For now, July is the new optimistic outlook, and for most airlines, likely a few months beyond that. Sigh, indeed.
HT: Sam Chui