On a recent Emirates flight to Dubai from India, I was surprised when I was asked where I was flying to by the flight attendant. Not the kind of question you would expect while flying any carrier to its hub. Equally surprising was her reaction when I replied Dubai. Shortly afterwards, upon landing at Dubai, the inflight TV screens displayed the flight schedules and gates of other Emirates departing flights which was interesting considering that other flights generally would showcase the sights and sounds of the particular destination.
While these incidents may have caused any passenger to feel unwelcome at Dubai, they subtly explain the reason Emirates is a hugely successful Airline. Emirates is the worlds biggest airline in terms of passenger traffic and operates over 300 flights daily to around 100 destinations from Dubai.
This, however, does not necessarily imply that the success of Emirates is due to Dubai being a major global city where people from all over the world live and work. This is hardly the case. A majority of these passengers use Dubai merely as a transit destination while flying Emirates. Its success relied on providing an alternate route, through Dubai, for connecting major destinations.
The rise of Emirates and the establishment of Dubai as its hub has primarily depended on the superior connectivity at competitive fares it provides. Better connectivity implies more destinations and more flights.
Consider this, Emirates operates around 30 odd daily flights from India and 80 odd to the US. A single stopover at Dubai would suffice to get you from Ahmedabad or Trivandrum to Dallas. Far more convenient than changing 3 or 4 different flights. Emirates also is increasingly preferred for travel between major cities even though direct flights exist between them like London- Bangalore or New york – Sydney. This is because Emirates offers much cheaper fares and a transit at Dubai would also split a tiring long haul journey.
Emirates has also benefited from Dubai. Its ideal location serves as a great connectivity option since roughly around three-quarters of the world are within a 8 hour journey from Dubai. Also, its fantastic airport provides a seamless transit path to your flight unlike some of the congested European airports where departures can be nightmarish. Add to this, Emirates also offers attractive packages for stay in Dubai which can also serve as a holiday appetizer en route to more exotic destinations.
Though Emirates has virtually plotted its own path to success, it has also benefited from a lack of noteworthy premium carriers in the Asia- Africa region. This has led to Dubai becoming an alternative hub for thousands of Indian, Chinese and African passengers whose national carriers are no match to Emirates in terms of quality and service.
But the path ahead might be tricky with rivals Etihad and Qatar Airways growing quickly. Their services are excellent too; Qatar was awarded the 5 star airline tag by Skytrax(Emirates is a 4 star airline).Their hubs; Abu Dhabi and Doha respectively, enjoy the same geographical advantages as Dubai and their airports, undergoing massive redevelopment may outshine Dubai’s in the near future.