Exclusive: “Game On” says Emirates president as Gulf airlines pair up

Unfazed by airlines joining forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Dubai remains the region's honeypot Sir Tim Clark tells Aviation Business
Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline.,
Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline.,

Emirates’ partnership with Flydubai might have garnered the most attention, but is just one in a spate of recent airline pairings in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia’s national carrier is leveraging its new low cost subsidiary, Flyadeal, to tap growing domestic and regional demand for air travel. Kuwait’s newly rebooted Wataniya is also attempting to feed into the national carrier’s network. Meanwhile, Oman’s newest carrier, Salam Air, has indicated its low cost offerings “complement” those of national carrier, Oman Air.

However, Emirates president, Sir Tim Clark, is unfazed by any prospect of growing competition over the Middle East’s skies.

When asked if any of the regional pairings suggested a cause for concern, his response was simply, “No, not at all. Game on.”

“Dubai is the honeypot, and soaks up anything thrown at it,” he told Aviation Business in an interview at the Dubai Airshow last week.

The region will support a huge amount of passenger growth, whether for low cost or full service travel, according to Clark, and adding capacity on trunk and regional routes “is the smart thing to do.”

Kuwait and a number of other countries are beginning to think in the same way, he says. “So you only need to bolt on a few other points (to routes), and that ends up being great for consumers, the city and the airlines.”

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