Emirates boss: ‘COVID should not force fundamental change in airline models’

Global demand for air travel will return naturally to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 without airlines having to make fundamental changes to their business models, providing COVID is dealt with meaningfully and vaccination programmes are successful.

That is according to Emirates president, Sir Tim Clark, who said in a recent interview that he does not believe passenger behaviour will change so significantly that airlines will be forced to drastically adjust their models to recapture lost demand over the next few years.

Sir Tim told Aviation Business that the airline industry will return to its “former glory sooner than other people are thinking” and that by around 2023, carriers will see the restoration of 2019 levels and begin to recapture the growth that had been going on until the COVID outbreak.

“That assumes, of course, that the pandemic is dealt with meaningfully [and the] dissemination of the vaccine and its efficacy remains as good as people are told [it] is going to be. So why then should we not recapture what we were doing before? Why should there be fundamental changes to business models? It doesn’t have to be like that.”

Sir Tim said he was confident that the general public will return to old flying habits when they are allowed to.
“I don’t subscribe to the view that there is going to be a step-change, a quantum change in the way people go about their business when it comes to flying.” …

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