We are preparing for a fourth wave of Covid from Europe: Emirates President

The president of the Emirates said he sees a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic coming from Europe, which concerns the airline.

Speaking to CNBC at the Dubai Air Show, Emirates President Tim Clark said: “I see a fourth wave coming and we have all sorts of worries about what might happen.”

“We have to look at it very carefully, because if the European markets – which have already started to open up in a big way – start to go the other way, we will have to deal with that. But we will deal with it … we are very good at problems, and we will only do that. , what we need to do, “he told HBC’s Hadley Gamble.

Earlier this month, the WHO warned that Europe was once again the epicenter of the Covid pandemic. The region’s largest economy, Germany, currently reports about 50,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, and France has also reported an increase in cases. Meanwhile, Austria is expected to soon impose restrictions on blocking millions of unvaccinated people to contain growing infections.

Airlines hoped the Dubai Air Show would mark a turning point for the industry after a period of devastation. It is the first major aerospace exhibition to take place since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen travel restrictions around the world diminish the industry.

The International Air Transport Association said last month that the global airline industry is expected to lose nearly $ 12 billion next year. The IATA, which represents nearly 300 airlines operating more than 80% of the world’s air traffic, added that industrial losses in 2020 were worse than originally thought, bringing in $ 137.7 billion.

However, Clark said the Emirate had already experienced a major recovery in demand and began to take advantage.

“We’re back with a high degree of, dare I say it, durability,” he said. “Demand is returning at such a speed that we honestly have a hard time trying to provide the assets because we lack pilots, we lack cabin crew, we lack almost everything. But there is no lack. Of demand, it’s a really good story.”

Clark highlighted the difficulties Emirates faces in hiring enough staff to meet this requirement after it put parts of employees in the middle of the pandemic.

“You’re talking about supply chain disruptions, you’re talking about gross underperformance in the job markets,” he said, adding that he expected some sense of normalcy to return by the end of 2022 and early 2023. “I think then … .the heat will come out of the situation. I hope, anyway. “

Another possible downside for airlines is higher oil prices. The demand shock caused by the Covid pandemic saw Brent prices fall to $ 20 a barrel; they now trade more than $ 80 a barrel.

But Clark said he is not confused. “Of course, $ 80 – we’ve been there before. We’ve been much higher than that before,” he added. “Right now, we’re managing it. It’s anyone guessing what’s going to happen; I think we have about 15 months of turbulence, but we’ll be fine.”

– CNBC’s Leslie Joseph contributed to this report.

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