On Friday afternoon, PAX was invited by Emirates to watch the 2018 Rogers Cup, Men's Division, live from the comfortable quarters of Emirates' private V.I.P suite.
In true Emirates fashion, we experienced the warmth and hospitality that the brand is known for, enjoying savoury appetizers and a catered lunch, as we joined Matt Schmid, senior vice president for North America, Emirates, and Don McWilliam, country manager for Canada, Emirates, to celebrate the airline's ongoing committment to supporting tennis athletes and fans in Canada.
A special partnership
This year marks 15 years of involvement by Emirates with the Rogers Cup.
“We became involved with the Rogers Cup in 2003, so we started to position the brand in this market even before we actually started our online service,” said Schmid. “Tennis in general has been a sports category that we are investing heavily in because it’s very interesting for us, it’s the right target group and we get a lot of visibility not only in the local market, but with all the TV presence these tournaments have we can leverage visibility on a global level so it’s great for us and helps us to position the brand and make it stronger.”
Emirates has actively sponsored many athletes for as long as 30 years, when the airline first sponsored the first powerboat race held in Dubai, back in 1987.
Soccer, rugby, tennis, motor sports, horse racing, golf, and cricket are just some of the divisions the airline continues to invest in.
Emirates began service into Toronto in 2007, operating flights three times a week. Beginning Aug. 18th, those direct flights will now increase to five times a week, adding in Saturday and Sunday flights to the already existing Monday, Wednesday, Friday departures.
"We run about 90 per cent all year-round and the new flights are already full coming in-bound from the Middle East," McWillian said. "In the last six months we’ve seen a nice pick-up demand for Dubai and traditionally Dubai has always been a stop-over destination for us."
"One thing I’d like to focus on moving forward that is our collaboration with FlyDubai, which started last October. They are completely independently-managed, but we started to incorporate them on a commercial basis. We have a global network of around 155 destinations and they have 84. So now, after combining these two metrics, taking into account duplications and exclusing them, then we add 52 additional destinations to FlyDubai so now we have a metric of 207 destinations.”
A committment to the customer
Emirates continues to innovate its onboard ammenities and services, most recently with their onboard entertainment system, Ice, which now features up to 3,500 channels, up from 2,000. Wi-Fi is available on more than 98 per cent of their fleets, for all passengers in all classes up to 20 MB free of charge.
"Our first-class passengers have their own self-serve bar featuring top of the line alcohol located in between two showers," McWilliam said. "We have a tremendous product and it’s even more exciting because now more Canadians are going to get an opportunity to see it.”
Most recently this year, Emirates started to fly into London’s third airport, Stansted.
The airline also launched service between Bali and Auckland, and as of June 1st out of Newark, NJ. Additionally, on July 5th, new flights to Santiago de Chile via Sao Paolo five times a week were added, and come Oct. 2018, new service to Edinburgh is planned.