INTERVIEW: MAJID AL MUALLA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS WEST ASIA & INDIAN OCEAN
EMIRATES DESIRES TO DOUBLE ITS FLIGHT OPERATIONS FROM ALL DESTINATIONS INCLUDING PAKISTAN: PLANS TO HIRE 700 PILOTS THIS YEAR
Nov 22 - 28, 2010
Emirates airline is eagerly looking for introducing flights from northern part of Pakistan especially Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. Yet, the restrictions on enhancing flight destinations are stalling expansion plan from Northern part of Pakistan.
Majid Al Mualla, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, West Asia & Indian Ocean said in an interview at the Emirates Head Office in Dubai that Emirates is eyeing for future growth in air traffic as Pakistan has a great potential for increasing traffic volume in the days to come especially from Northern part of the country and despite current economic recession which was aggravated by the recent floods, his airline foresees a brilliant outlook for growth in air traffic volume from Pakistan.
Majid Al Mualla is responsible for all commercial activities of the airline in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.
Mr. Al Mualla, a product of Emirates' successful trainee management programme, joined the company in 1996 upon graduation from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in April 2010 after an impressive 12 months as Vice President. During this period, Emirates expanded its services throughout the region - increasing flights into Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka, as well as stepping up frequencies across its 10 destinations in India to 184 per week Previously, Mr. Al Mualla held the position of Vice President of UAE Sales, and prior to that he held senior positions with Emirates in Riyadh, Bangladesh, Lebanon, and the UK. Besides, increasing number of flights from Pakistan Majid Al Mualla in his soft and composed accent showed a friendly leaning towards Pakistan and remarked though people from 160 countries are working together for growth and prosperity of Dubai yet we hold Pakistanis with high esteem. He pointed out that his airline also desired to introduce A-380 which the latest version of the Air Bus yet the capacity of the airport has to be improved to accommodate this highly sophisticated wide-body aircraft. In this respect an exclusive terminal spread over one km is currently being developed adjacent to new Dubai airport.
Talking about Emirates business activity in Pakistan he said: "We are not at warfare with PIA or any other airline in Pakistan, however, we expect a level playing ground and leaving it to the passengers to determine the airline of their choice as it is being practiced in Dubai where about 150 airlines are operating from Dubai with any fear of restrictions," he remarked.
Emirates which has assumed a status as one of the largest airline in the world is currently operating with 175 aircraft and has chalked out a huge expansion plan to induct 200 more new aircraft into its fleet at a cost of $68 billion during next seven years.
He said that the biggest challenge currently faced by the airlines around the world is the ever increasing fuel cost which takes away major chunk of the earnings. During the course of discussion, he said the rising cost of fuel is one of the major reasons that Emirates and other major airlines have fresh aircrafts which are fuel efficient and help saving the fuel cost. Emirates always prefer to keep its fleet with young and fresh aircraft to overcome the growing cost of flight operations.
He disclosed that with the expansion in the size of fleet and flight destinations around the world, Emirates is looking for enhancing the number of pilots and will be recruiting over 700 pilots during the current financial year.
Majid having a deep insight regarding aviation industry said that the fast recovery of the airlines around the world is a good sign and expressed the hope that the growing number of air traffic is a silver lining of the economic recovery after the global financial turmoil, indicating the capacity of the aviation industry to come out of the crisis much faster as compared to other segments of the economy.
Emirates engineering facility that occupies a Dhs 1.3 billion (US$353 million) Engineering Centre on a 55-hectare (136 acres) site on the north side of Dubai International Airport has enough to offer to the visitors which in fact reflect the dedication of its leadership to develop one of the biggest engineering facilities in the shortest possible time.
Actually, Emirates' Engineering relocated to the new facility in the second half of 2006. This stunning new centre is situated a stone's throw from its predecessor which has been demolished to make way for further re-development of the airport.
The arrangement of all workshops and stores around the hangars ensures engines and components are transferred quickly and easily between aircraft, workshop and storage areas. Emirates' uncompromising commitment to safety, quality, and customer satisfaction is borne out by the department's impressive list of approvals from world regulatory authorities. ISO 9002 and JAR 145 accreditation are amongst a number of engineering-specific accolades the centre has received.
BIGGEST IN THE WORLD
The new Emirates Engineering Centre is among the most impressive civil aviation maintenance facilities in the world. Its eight hangars form the largest free-spanned structures in the Middle East, with roofs supported by 110-metre long single spans.
The centre is capable of servicing Emirates' entire existing fleet, as well as the additional aircraft presently on order and any third party maintenance contracts it undertakes.
The center's seven fully air-conditioned hangars for heavy and light maintenance, each measuring 110m x 105m - more than twice the size of a soccer field - together with a paint hangar, which is due for completion in August 2008, cover more than nine hectares (22 acres) - an area equivalent to 17 soccer fields.
Each hangar has an entrance gate that's 88m wide and every bay can accommodate aircraft of any size, including the Airbus A380 which is 73m long with an 80m wingspan and a tail 24m high. The hangars have almost the same dimensions as the A380 facilities specially constructed by Airbus in Toulouse to assemble the giant aircraft.
Each hangar has a mezzanine docking system for access to the aircraft, while three of the center's seven hangars are equipped with full fuselage docking systems designed for heavy maintenance. An additional docking system will be commissioned within the next 12 months. In addition, all hangars, as well as selected workshops, are equipped with roof-mounted cranes.
All the support services needed in the hangars, including air conditioning and electrical power, are housed underground. When needed, consoles are raised from the floor, which avoids potential accidents caused by trailing wires and ducting across the hangar.
The hangar facades and roofs are finished in extruded polycarbonate panels which are light in weight and translucent, improving the working environment by providing natural light. Outside the hangars, the Engineering Centre has nine dedicated aircraft parking bays, a number of which have electrical power and some with facilities for refueling.
Approx Dhs1.4 billion of stock are held (excluding engines) on a floor area of 23,000 sq mtrs. There are approximately 125,000 line part numbers, all subject to a semi-automated storage system.
In addition to stores, workshops, an office block and multi-storey parking for 2000 cars, the new centre includes a security building and the Emirates Engineering Training School, which has been relocated from its former home at Emirates Aviation College.
Wing testing of engines will be done in an engine run-up bay within surrounding 15-metre-high acoustic walls ensuring that the jet blast is directed safely upwards and engine noise is reduced to the surrounding areas.
Emirates engineering has additionally completed the commissioning of an Engine Test Cell, which is located 40 kms from the airport. Here, engines with thrusts up to 115,000 pounds are tested following maintenance work. This facility is capable of handling engines with future growth to 150,000 pounds of thrust, which makes it one of only two facilities in the world that can accommodate such power ratings.
Facilities for staff include a canteen, a coffee shop, a gym, and an auditorium. Staff also enjoys covered moving walkways between the car park and the hangars.
Wireless communication throughout the centre allows engineers to access technical documentation via laptops in close proximity to the aircraft under maintenance.
Below ground, a two-kilometre long, 15-metre-wide service tunnel provides fire-fighting water, electrical power and the communications network.
The huge dimension of the site, adjoining the Dubai Airport Free Zone on the north side of the airport, makes moving quickly from one part of the facility to another a serious challenge. The use of tricycles, golf carts and even Segway Human Transporters have all been introduced to achieve speedy and safe movement.
• New Line Maintenance facility, to include offices, crew and locker rooms/Ground Support workshop/Nitrogen production plant/Aircraft Stores.
• Expansion to the workshop capabilities to carry out maintenance on components 'in house'.