As soon as the demand for air travel plummeted around the world, the need for large aircraft, like the Boeing 747 or the Airbus A380, are suddenly not needed anymore. But could that provide some opportunity for Emirates to conserve some cash?

Looking for revenue

The vast international network has presented a problem for Emirates. The company continues to rely on respective government decisions as to whether passengers are allowed to board a flight and not have to quarantine upon arrival. No unified approach towards self-isolation has limited potential destinations that can be offered to passengers. Nevertheless, in order to survive to eventually welcome the currently suppressed demand, airlines have to cover their short-term expenses. And cargo became the gold mine for many, including Emirates.

As paradoxical as it may be, the fact that many flights across the globe were canceled or are running at very reduced frequencies, has propelled cargo rates up. A sector that has bled severely throughout 2019 was now in the spotlight – according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air freight demand fell to levels previously seen only in 2009.

“The revenue we’re getting from cargo is substantial. Not only it allows us to cover our operating costs, but it also allows us to make profits,” said Tim Clark. Many new routes, which were added throughout 2020, are reliant on cargo, according to the executive. Despite others laying out predictions that cargo revenues would die down, the reality is much different, Clark remarked.

“It continues to be strong. That allows us to open around 70 to 80 destinations at the moment, primarily driven by cargo demand.”

As winds have shifted in aviation, reports circulated that Emirates is looking to shift more 777X orders towards the smaller aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner. But which aircraft would fit the airline better?