Srijana Prasai Koirala is the director of public relations at Universal Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd, the GSA for Emirates in Nepal.
She spoke with THT Perspectives about plans of Emirates for the future.
As GSA of Emirates, how is the airline connecting and contributing to tourism in Nepal?
Nepal offers a great tourism opportunity and Emirates Airline has played an important role in promoting the country in Dubai and amongst its global network. The airline has facilitated seamless travel for business, leisure as well as those visiting their families through its affiliations with other airlines.
Due to the agreement with flydubai in Nepal, we are able to offer Emirates passengers from Nepal the same baggage allowance we offer to passenger boarding an Emirates flight. The baggage is directly checked in at Nepal to its destination, thus saving the passenger the hassle of re-checking baggage in Dubai. After landing in Dubai, passengers are entitled to a complimentary transfer from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 to board their Emirates flight for the onward journey.
What future plans does Emirates have in terms of expanding operations?
At present Emirates has no plans of beginning direct flights to Nepal. Although Emirates always looks forward to strengthening relations with the country, the decision to increase or expand is decided by the bi-laterals between the governments of both Nepal and UAE. Emirates has been adopting various measures to promote Nepal as a tourist destination in Dubai and its global network. We are certain that this trend will continue and only increase momentum going forward.
What needs to be done further to make the NTY-2011 campaign a greater success?
I feel that NTY-2011 was a great initiative by the government to promote Nepal’s all important tourism sector. However, I feel that more
effective promotions should be undertaken in source markets such as India, China, Middle East and Europe to generate awareness amongst consumers. To develop long-term tourism, having a strong national carrier is also mandatory. Nepal Airlines has played an important role in developing the tourism industry in Nepal in its initial years and it has the potential to do more for the national tourism industry. In addition, we must encourage competition in aviation, which will positively impact growth. Emirates is one of the carriers which has proven that the Nepali consumer and economy has benefitted through its presence by increasing tourism and interest in Nepal.
What kind of cargo potential does Emirates see in Nepal?
Emirates SkyCargo has been doing very good business in Nepal and this is evident from the fact that Emirates SkyCargo’s Nepal wing has recently won the ‘Top Offline Cargo Carrier’ award for 2010 for the third year in a row. Organised by Nepal Freight Forwarders Association, Emirates SkyCargo won the award on the basis of highest tonnage uplifted in the year 2010-11. Emirates SkyCargo lifted 545 tonnes of cargo, the highest in the region and it has also been consistent in maintaining the performance.
The offline agreement we have with flydubai allows us to utilise upto three tonnes of cargo capacity per flight, twice a day, thus giving us
direct access to the world from Kathmandu. We have also tied up with other SPA cargo airlines for other routes, wherein cargo is
routed via Dhaka, Delhi and Karachi, and then from there, Emirates SkyCargo carries it onwards to our hub in Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo currently represents 11 per cent of the total out bound air cargo from Nepal in terms of market share.
Emirates’ future plans for global expansion?
Emirates Airline is constantly looking to expand its network and operations by launching new routes, destinations and adding more aircraft to its expanding fleet. We will soon be launching a new destination, St Petersburg from November 1 and also starting daily flights to Dublin from January 2012. The other routes that are also launching early next year include Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires in South America.
Very recently, Emirates SkyCargo celebrated the inaugural service on its new Far East and Australasia freighter route. The weekly service, operated by its new Boeing 777 freighter, will fly Dubai-Singapore-Sydney-Hong Kong-Dubai, providing the key trading points with additional connectivity to Emirates’ Dubai hub, which can link businesses to the 114 destinations on the carrier’s network.
Emirates today connects the world across 114 destinations in 67 countries, with new passenger routes being announced in 2011 and 2012.
How is Emirates helping to develop Dubai as a leading travel hub?
In Dubai, Emirates’ home is the gargantuan Emirates Terminal 3 at the Dubai International Airport, which is dedicated to Emirates passengers. Spread over a sprawling 515,000 square metre, it has more than 250 check-in counters at departures including 126 for economy class passengers; 32 for first and business; 60 self service kiosks both with and without baggage; 10 dedicated counters for Skywards premium members; and 18 counters for outsized baggage located right in the car park.
When it comes to first and business class, Emirates goes to great lengths to ensure comfort, efficiency and attention to detail for our passengers. For instance, the Emirates’ first class lounge at Emirates Terminal 3 is equipped with a special kids’ play area, where children can enjoy themselves with a range of entertaining activities. Emirates has designed an entire floor of luxurious, themed lounges in the 10-storied concourse for its premium passengers, with a capacity for more than 2,000, serving the finest international cuisine and offering full-fledged spa facilities.
The duty free shopping area spanning across 11,000 square metres features a choice of 29 stores, representing leading lifestyle brands. Dubai is the most multi-cultural region and a vibrant trade and economic hub. Emirates has thrived on competition with 120 airlines flying into Dubai. Over half the passengers who travel through the city are carried by Emirates. Emirates has introduced special services such as the 96-hour visa facility, special holiday and hotel packages during the Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Stopover offer to promote Dubai as a travel and leisure hub.