GULF carrier Emirates is seeking to add 10 more flights out of Manila to Dubai to address the growing demand for connectivity between the two cities.
Emirates Country Manager to the Philippines Satish Sethi said in an interview that his group is seeking to drastically expand its Manila operations, as flights out of the Philippine capital prove to be highly profitable.
“The demand is very heavy in Manila, and with today’s demand, we could easily take another 10 flights a week out of Manila,” he said.
Currently, the Middle Eastern airline operates 18 flights out of Manila to Dubai via its 428-seater Boeing 777s. It also has seven curricular flights from Dubai to Cebu via Clark.
Demand for connectivity between Manila and Dubai, he said, is very high, given his airline’s operations over the past few years. “We are running almost full all year round, hitting almost 100-percent load factor for our Manila flights,” Sethi added.
Negotiations between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates to increase flight entitlements between the two nations “ended in a deadlock” in April this year.
The parties were close to agreeing to some exchanges, including the commitment of Emirates to operate to Davao and additional flights to Manila, but the details were not resolved during the talks. Local carriers have opposed such negotiations, citing the competitive advantage of their Middle Eastern counterparts.
Flights to and from the Middle East are seen to be highly profitable given that the gulf is home to millions of overseas Filipino workers.
“The government to government meetings are a work in progress. We would love to operate more flights to and from Manila,” Sethi said.
Emirates flies to 150 destinations around the world from its main hub in Dubai.