Fifty new A350-900 XWB aeroplanes were acquired by Emirates at the Dubai Airshow in 2019.
There, Emirates also confirmed a full purchase agreement for 30 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. In a statement, Emirates said that line with its long-standing strategy to operate modern and efficiency wide-body aircraft, the airline’s latest US$ 24.8 billion investment in its future fleet will expand its operational flexibility in terms of capacity and range, and allow it to further develop its network proposition beyond 2020.
Placing customers at the heart of its business, Emirates delivered another year of trendsetting product and service initiatives to provide an unmatched travel experience in the air and on the ground. In April 2019, the airline completed its US $150 million refurbishments of 10 Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, offering a two-class cabin with wider Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 format and a fully refreshed Economy Class cabin.
Emirates’ customers continue to be spoilt for choice with over 4,500 channels on ice – the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system, which clinched its 15th consecutive Skytrax win in 2019 for Best Inflight Entertainment as well as its 3rd consecutive APEX Passenger Choice award for Best Entertainment.
Synched playlists on offer
In 2019, Emirates elevated the inflight entertainment experience by introducing playlist syncing. Customers can now browse the extensive content on offer, create personalised playlists ahead of their flight, and sync it to their seats once onboard their flight, using the Emirates App. Since its launch, more than 180,000 unique playlists have been created, and the airline is expanding this function progressively across its entire fleet.
Emirates continues to invest over US$ 27 million annually to operate inflight connectivity systems, serving the expectations of modern travellers. More than 13 million Wi-Fi connections were made on-board Emirates flights in 2019, as customers increasingly expect the ability to stay connected to family and friends when they fly.
Providing a stress-free, end-to-end customer experience, Emirates launched its first remote check-in terminal outside of the airport, to provide smooth connections for cruise passengers in Dubai. These Emirates check-in counters, located at Port Rashid, allow passengers who are disembarking from their cruise ships to check-in for their onward Emirates flight and enjoy a hassle-free stopover visit in the city.
Emirates launched biometric boarding and facial recognition technology at its departure gates for customers flying from Dubai to any of its 12 destinations in the U.S., reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. More biometric technology will be rolled out in 2020, in coordination with partners at Dubai International airport.
The Emirates App has become one of the top airline apps with nearly 2 million active users, and is available in 19 languages including Arabic, allowing users to search, book and manage their flights. The airline has also recently launched a new feature on its app called Airport Maps, allowing customers to navigate seamlessly through Dubai International Airport including check-in desks, Emirates lounges, shops, restaurants or ATMs in the airport.
Emirates Skywards, the award-winning loyalty programme for Emirates and flydubai, celebrated its 25 million member mark in 2019. The loyalty programme introduced a range of new products and services throughout the year, including Skywards Exclusives, a unique offering of carefully crafted experiences from Emirates’ expansive sponsorships portfolio. Skywards Everyday gives members the power to earn Skywards Miles anytime, every day at their favourite retail, entertainment and dining outlets across the UAE. Emirates Skywards also forged new partnerships, including with airlines such as Copa Airlines and Bangkok Airways, hotels, retailers, and banks.
Bringing people together
In 2019, Emirates continued to support sports and culture through its extensive global sponsorships, connecting with its customers worldwide and bringing people together under a shared passion. As one of the most recognisable brands in global sports, Emirates once again activated a variety of initiatives at some of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and the Rugby World Cup 2019™. At home, the airline also celebrated the 50th-anniversary staging of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Throughout 2019, Emirates commissioned 8 bespoke aircraft liveries to highlight significant events and showcase its partnerships to a global audience. These were: the three Expo 2020 Dubai liveries that represent the Expo themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity; the “UAE in Space” Emirates A380 that pays tribute to the UAE’s first space mission; the “ICC Cricket World Cup 2019” Emirates A380; the “Rugby World Cup” Emirates A380; the “50th Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens” Emirates A380; and the “Year of Tolerance” Emirates A380.
Marking the 48th UAE National Day and the UAE Year of Tolerance, Emirates wrapped up the year with flying colours as it broke a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for most nationalities on an aircraft. Celebrating the diversity in the UAE, the historic one-off Emirates A380 flight carried over 540 passengers from 145 nationalities. Passengers celebrated the various ethnicities, religions and cultures on-board, which is a strong reflection of Dubai’s multicultural social fabric.