Emirates focuses on ‘routing’

Emirates SkyCargo will not be adding freighters, a senior executive has told Cargo Facts, but rather will concentrate on the most efficient use of the freighters it already has.

While Emirates’ cargo business is heavily dependent on belly space in its widebody passenger fleet – the company has called its 777-300ERs “invisible freighters” – it also operates a significant freighter fleet, with thirteen 777 Freighters, and leases-in two 747Fs and two MD-11Fs. But Duncan Watson, vice president of Emirates Cargo Commercial Operations, said in an exclusive interview that the world’s third-largest cargo carrier by tonnage will not expand its main-deck capacity.

“On the freighter side, we are not planning to add anything in the foreseeable future,” Watson said. “We are happy with the assets we have.”

Instead, Emirates has grown passionate about routing. Where do you deploy aircraft? How do you route aircraft? These have become critical factors for the carrier. Routing has become a “daily activity” at Emirates SkyCargo, Watson said. “We spend more time on the routings – how to tweak routings – how to use those assets. This is a daily activity, because the markets are so dynamic now. It always was a dynamic market, but what you saw in 2015 – you thought things changed fast then? Boy, they are changing fast now.”

Daily changes at Emirates SkyCargo could have freighters moved to airports 500 miles away on a day’s notice. Watson said such changes can boost Emirates yield by 4% to 5%, “and in the airfreight world that is a big number.”

Finally, because it is Friday, we will add a couple of videos for your weekend entertainment/education. The first follows an Emirates 777F from landing to take-off at Houston. The second is a promotional video Emirates uses to show the journey of a lobster from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to a table in a Shanghai restaurant. Yes, it’s a bit goofy, but it perfectly illustrates the way Emirates has used its geographical location in Dubai to connect pretty much anywhere in the world to pretty much anywhere else, in the shortest possible time.

Here’s the turnaround in Houston:

And here’s a cartoon lobster, off to meet its fate in Shanghai:

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