Once China completely reopens to international flights, Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, anticipates a boom in international travel unprecedented in recent years.
The removal of Covid-related restrictions in the world’s second-largest economy would result in a “tsunami” of reservations, Emirates President Tim Clark said on November 23.
“At some point, China will unleash demand for travel the likes of which we will not have seen for a long, long time,” Clark said in Berlin. “The longer they press the cork down in the water, the greater the velocity of return.”
Emirates depends significantly on Asian transport. Its headquarters in Dubai operate intercontinental flights that connect the area to the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Despite this, the company achieved a record-breaking first-half profit of more than $1 billion through September because of the rebound in travel after two years of Covid disruption.
Clark said that Emirates flights to places in Asia that have already reopened, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, are almost filled.
As a result of capacity cutbacks at airlines such as Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and PT Garuda Indonesia, he added that the sector may struggle to meet pent-up demand in the coming years.
Clark said that Emirates expects an update on the long-delayed 777X widebody’s engine troubles on December 6. A flaw detected about a month ago interrupted testing, and GE Aviation in Cincinnati was shd a turbine for investigation.
If the problem is determined to be a manufacturing or component issue, testing may start as early as January, according to Clark. Boeing should have built enough room to maneuver 777X’s revised July 2025 delivery timetable to accommodate a delay, “assuming it is not a design issue.”
However, Clark said that Emirates might consider canceling 777X orders if the plane, which is currently five years behind schedule, has more delays. In addition, the business continues to evaluate a potential role for the largest A350-1000 model of Airbus SE’s largest current airplane, which competes with the 777X.