Global Airline Report 2020: Dilemmas in Dubai and Durban

 
South African Airways deployed four leased Airbus A350-900s on long-haul services in early February. Just five weeks later, on March 20, the company stated that it would cease all international services with immediate effect
AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM/MARKUS MAINKA

When you think of Emirates, you inevitably think of the Airbus A380. The Dubai-based carrier’s 115-strong superjumbo fleet enabled it to play a commanding role in the Middle East. The twin-deck airliner was deployed on anything and everything from short hops to Muscat – the world’s shortest A380 route – to bleary-eyed 16-hour slogs to Los Angeles. But this reliance on the type – and the 142 Boeing 777s it also fields – has hindered the carrier’s ability to operate effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to rivals Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, both of which have been able to roll out smaller, more fuel-efficient jets such as 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s on routes with greatly reduced passenger demand to assist dedicated 777F fleets in maintaining the flow of belly cargo around the world.

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