Emirates SkyCargo continues to fly high

It is a carrier that by any definition does not fly under the radar. Emirates Airline’s reputation, network, fleet and ambitions – like its national flag-inspired tail livery – are unapologetically big and bold. And if there was any doubt as to its large stature, one only need look at its recent aircraft order which smashed all previous records for its sheer scale. Likewise its cargo division, Emirates SkyCargo, with not only reach and depth, but an uncanny knack of bucking the industry down trend with capacity expansion, cargo growth and profitability. Donald Urquhart reports from Mumbai.

Emirates SkyCargo continues to fly high

Speaking to Payload Asia in Mumbai recently, Emirates divisional senior VP for cargo, Nabil Sultan essentially summed up the position of the carrier’s cargo division when he said simply: “For us there will always be new markets”.

Indeed, considering the carrier’s fleet of over 200 aircraft – all widebodies – flying a network to more than 140 destinations in 74 countries across six continents.

But, the real kicker of course, is the Dubai-based carrier’s aircraft orders that currently sit at phenomenal 380 aircraft – 214 B777s, 96 A380s and 70 A350s – not to mention well over 100 options. Emirates made headlines at last year’s Dubai Air Show when it ordered a whopping 200 aircraft comprised of 150 B777Xs and 50 A380s worth US$99 billion, in one go.

And with that massive aircraft order, to be delivered over the coming years, comes a very substantial belly cargo capacity in addition to its growing maindeck fleet – something that would surely send tremors up and down the spine of many a cargo chief, particularly in light of the market conditions over the last half decade.

But that is precisely the rub: On the face of it at least, Emirates SkyCargo seems largely impervious to the downturn. If one were to look at SkyCargo in isolation from the rest of the industry, one would surely conclude – quite erroneously – that the global air cargo industry was flourishing.