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DUBAIGulf-based aviation group Emirates expects to return all of its grounded Airbus A380s and Boeing 777sduring the pandemic to operation by the end of this year as the global rollout of coronavirus vaccines renews confidence in travel.

According to Emirates President Tim Clark the vaccination program is vital to any recovery for the travel industry, which saw huge demand collapse in 2020.

The 71-year-old Clark, who has delayed his retirement to tackle the crisis, said on Wednesday he did not think a recent wave of new infections and restrictions in some countries would further impede the recovery.

“I think we always anticipated a bumpy patch,” he told Reuters in an interview. Once the pandemic is over and the global inoculation programme has kicked in at pace, then I see the restoration of the global economy at pace, probably in the middle to back end of this year,” Clark said.

Clark, a respected industry veteran, has throughout the crisis been more bullish about a rebound than many of his peers. Emirates is currently flying 17 of its 115 A380s and 137 of its 160 777s, with some passenger jets operating as cargo planes. Last week, Emirates was flying to about 120 destinations, compared to 157 before the pandemic.

“We’re in a good place with the fleet that we have, albeit not as highly utilized as it was prior to the pandemic, to start operating again as soon as the doors open with regards to accessibility to the markets,” Clark said.

Emirates, which reported a $3.4 billion half-year loss and received $2 billion from the Dubai government to help it through crisis, will report a full-year loss for the year ending March 31," he said.
Via (Reuters)

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