Despite a recovery in earnings, the carrier has said that it is facing a shortage in pilots. This, in turn, is forcing Emirates to cut the frequency of flights on certain routes during the summer travel season. However, president Tim Clark has offered assurances that the shortfall is temporary.
Emirates, which has seen a recovery in earnings over the last year, says that this recent reversal of its fortunes could be threatened by a shortage in pilots, Bloomberg reports. This shortage is in turn forcing the airline to cut back on the frequency of flights to certain destinations.
Speaking at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on Wednesday, Tim Clark, the airline’s president, said that, as of March 31st, sales are continuing to rise in the Persian Gulf market, a region where the carrier recently saw a downturn in figures due to dropping oil prices. He also indicated that demand within the American market had recovered from travel restrictions put into place during the early days of President Trump’s office.
The outlet reports that it is facing a shortfall of between 100 and 150 pilots and that, as a consequence of this, it will be reducing the frequency of flights to destinations which include Miami and Fort Lauderdale as well as certain Asian and European routes.
“We’re a tad short in pilots,” admitted Clark, who also then offered reassurance that the shortfall in crew was only a temporary situation. The carrier should, he said, be back at full pilot capacity by the early autumn.
Rising prices in oil are said to be providing a boost to the economies of the Gulf nations and in turn contributing to greater demand for international travel within the region. Clark, however, acknowledged that this could be a “challenge” for the airline, but predicted that prices are likely to level off thanks to market supply.
Clark also announced that Emirates will be working more intimately with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. The latter carrier saw losses of almost $2 billion in 2016, a situation that may see it reduce operations. Clark, who had previously ruled out a merger between the two airlines, said that the carriers are “looking at all sorts of areas” in terms of collaboration.