* Airline has been hit by currency volatility
* Some African routes being reviewed
* Considering additional fees on some services
(Adds detail, context)
By Tom Arnold
DUBAI, Oct 18 Emirates airline could reduce the
frequency of flights to Africa or cut routes entirely if current
economic and financial challenges on the continent continue, the
company's President said on Tuesday.
Emirates has expanded rapidly in Africa to benefit from
increased demand that accompanied growing links between the
Middle East and the continent, as well as cater to passengers
flying to and from Asia.
However, airlines flying to Nigeria have started to refuel
abroad because jet fuel supplies have become more scarce and
expensive as the West African nation contends with a shortage of
Emirates has started refuelling its daily Abuja-bound flight
in Accra, Ghana, a spokesman said last month, having already cut
its twice-daily flights to Lagos and Abuja to only one.
"In certain African countries, the currencies have really
gone down, so we're reflecting on a number of these to look at
where it's just not worth us travelling," Emirates President Tim
Clark said on the sidelines of an International Air Transport
He didn't mention specific countries.
The U.S. dollar-nair exchange rate has risen by 53 percent
this year, with the Nigerian currency's decline spurred by
investor worries over a slump in oil revenues. The South African
rand, meanwhile, has lost 9.3 percent against the dollar.
Clark also said that Emirates is considering introducing
fees for some services as it continues to take a hit from the
strength of the U.S. dollar against currencies including
Britain's Brexit-challenged pound, the Indian rupee and the
"We have major differences, being dollar-denominated, in
what we collect and what we represent in our financial
statements," he said.
Ahead of the release of the airline's results in a few
weeks, Clark said the first half of its financial year had been
tough compared with last year.
The airline introduced fees this month for passengers who
want to select their seats in advance on economy class fares and
Clark said the airline could consider introducing other charges
on some services, such as fees for additional bags, "where
there's a value proposition, rather than a penalty".
He added that Emirates' load factor -- a measure of capacity
utilisation -- for the rest of 2016 and 2017 would probably be
in the mid-70s to low-80s in percentage terms, though there
would be some peaks and troughs.
(Additional repoting by David French; Editing by David Goodman)