|Chang Jun-mo, Emirates Airline's country manager for Korea, talks about the need to increase the number of flights between Incheon and Dubai to better meet rising demand, during an interview with The Korea Times at the airline's office in Seoul, May 9. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk|
By Kim Hyun-bin
There has been a rise in demand from Koreans to visit Middle Eastern countries in recent years, but since 2005, Dubai's flagship carrier Emirates Airline has been restricted to providing just one daily flight from Incheon to Dubai, which is hardly enough to meet this, says the airline's country manager for Korea.
"Since 2009, Emirates Airline has had over an 80 percent passenger load factor and in 2018 we had 87 percent. But since the beginning, have only been allowed to provide one daily flight from Incheon to Dubai. We want to double the number of daily flights to meet the rising demand," Chang Jun-mo said in an interview with The Korea Times in the airline's Seoul office May 9.
"Our company has been growing as well as the Northeast Asian market. We offer three flights daily from Beijing and four from Hong Kong. We need more flights from Incheon."
In order to increase the number of flights, the governments of the two countries need to come to a consensus. The United Arab Emirates government has wanted to increase the number of flights between the two nations for years, but the Korean government has not, he added.
Since first launching flights in Korea in 2005, Korea has been a key market for Emirates in the Northeast Asia region and its importance can be seen from the airline's decision to operate its first Airbus A380 from Incheon, Chang said.
|Emirates Airline's Airbus A380. Courtesy of Emirates Airline|
Currently, regardless the distance, all of 272 aircraft Emirates operates are wide-body, which have a minimum of over 300 seats. The bold move portrays the airline's confidence in its products and services, showing it can attract customers in any circumstances.
"The most important factor for an airline is its network. We are sure of our products and network so we only fly wide-body aircraft with two aisles and over 300 seats, not just on long-haul but all of our 158 routes to 86 countries," he said.
Through localization, Emirates differentiates its services depending on the destination, according to the country manager.
On the Incheon-Dubai route, Emirates is serving locally inspired cuisine, such as "neobiani" (pan-fried beef with Korean-style sesame soy sauce), and has over 700 Korean flight attendants to cater to local passengers and 4,000 channels on its in-flight entertainment system which shows films, TV shows, music and games, including content in Korean, according to the airline.
Another major perk of taking the airline, passengers can take advantage of short stopovers and enjoy various attractions and activities at the airline's hub Dubai, which includes desert safaris, visiting historical sites and traditional markets, and shopping at some of the best and largest malls in the world, which Chang says are "attractive marketing tools."
For its first and business class passengers, the airline offers a "chauffeur-drive service" which takes passengers to and from the airport by luxury sedan.
In addition to the airlines efforts to differentiate its products and services, Chang believes Emirates' key strengths is in the diversity of its crew, which makes the carrier a melting pot of all airlines.
"Emirates' corporate culture is open, and diversity is one of its key strengths. Emirates' global workforce comprises of talented men and women from over 170 countries, which could be the most out of any airlines. The airline's ability to manage and respect different cultures is definitely a key strength," he said.