We’re making ready for a fourth wave of Covid from Europe: Emirates president

The Emirates president said he saw a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic coming from Europe affecting the airline.

In conversation with CNBC in Dubai Airshowsaid Emirates President Tim Clark, “I see a fourth wave coming and we have all sorts of concerns about what could happen.”

“We have to look very carefully because when the European markets – which have already started to open up on a large scale – are going the other way, we have to deal with that … we are very good at avoiding problems, and we’ll just do what we have to, ”he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

The WHO warned against this earlier this month Europe was again the epicenter of the Covid pandemic. The largest economy in the region, Germany currently reports around 50,000 new coronavirus cases every day, and France has also reported an increase in cases. Austria, meanwhile, is expected to shortly Imposing lockdown restrictions on millions of unvaccinated people to curb the increasing number of infections.

Airlines have hoped that the Dubai Air Show will mark a turning point for the industry after a devastating period. It’s the first major aerospace exhibition since the coronavirus pandemic began, when travel restrictions around the world decimated the industry.

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

However, Clark said Emirates is already seeing a significant pickup in demand and is starting to turn a profit.

“We are recovering with a high degree of robustness,” he said. “Demand is coming back at such a pace that we honestly have trouble delivering the resources because we have too few pilots, no cabin crew and pretty much everything. But there’s no shortage of demand, it’s a really good story. “

Clark highlighted the difficulty Emirates faced in hiring enough staff to meet that demand after hiring many people amid the pandemic.

“You talk about supply chain disruptions, you talk about gross distortions in the labor markets,” he said, adding that he expected some sense of normalcy to return towards the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 … the heat will come out of the situation. I hope anyway. “

Another potential headwind for airlines is higher oil prices. The demand shock triggered by the Covid pandemic led to a drop in Brent prices to USD 20 per barrel; they are over acting now $ 80 a barrel.

But Clark said he wasn’t worried. “Of course $ 80 – we’ve been there before. We were way higher than that, ”he added. “Right now we can do it. It’s everyone’s guess what will happen. I think we have about 15 months of turmoil but we will be fine.”

– CNBC’s Leslie Joseph contributed to this report.