“But like everybody else, if in six months, global demand is where it is today, then we’re all going to face difficulties, not just Emirates.”
He continued: “We will make the recommendations to the government as to where we go about raising more cash. One of those could be a further injection of equity from the shareholder, the government itself, others will be taking more debt on to the balance sheet.
“The balance sheet is pretty strong regardless of what’s already happened, so we’re ok there. There are other measures we could take so we are preparing ourselves for that case.”
In August 2020, Emirates received 7.3 billion dirhams ($2 billion) from the government of Dubai, its sole shareholder, to overcome a cash crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clark said the airline was currently flying 151 Boeing 777 aircraft, carrying ‘mainly cargo’ and between 20,000-30,000 passengers per day.
Despite the enormous challenges faced by the aviation industry under the COVID-19 pandemic, he spoke optimistically about the future of the Emirates, specifically regarding collaboration with low-cost carrier flydubai.
After the pandemic, Dubai has the potential to return to its status as a major international hub, operating upwards of 400-500 aircraft to 400 cities, he said.
He said that a plan was being considered where the two airlines work together with their brands kept separate but with network integration. Such a collaboration, he said, would allow "absolutely stupendous" income power.
Asked if he was concerned about competition from Qatar Airways, after the country’s relations with other Gulf states started to normalise in January, Clark said: “Well, frankly I’m not particularly concerned what comes out of Doha. I would rather we concentrated on what we need to do best for ourselves.”
“What we would like to see as part of this pandemic, when it is over, is that the airline industry restores itself to health, restores itself to the competitive nature of the way it was, consumers have choice and value for money,” he added.
(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)
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