In the latest of our ‘5 minutes with’ posts, we hear from Graham Pepe from Emirates.
1. As a well-known and respected member of the travel fraternity, and a veteran of the airline, how did you first come to work at Emirates and what are the biggest changes during your tenure?
I joined Emirates back in 1994 and was working as a sales executive for Continental Airlines at the time, Emirates was a fairly new airline and the opportunity to join them seemed really too good to miss. Emirates during my time has gone from a fleet of 30 aircraft to over 270 and from four flights a day from the UK to 20 pre-Covid. During this time Dubai has also firmly become a world class destination and a gateway to the rest of the world for many travellers. Adapting to this dramatic growth has probably been the biggest challenge but also a great journey to be involved with.
2. The past 18 months have been a nightmare for all airlines. How has Emirates navigated this period and what is the future outlook?
It has been really difficult and our cargo operation with our 777 fleet has really supported the airline, We were on the red list with UKGOV for over eight months which had a massive impact on us here in the UK with the majority of our UK staff being kept on furlough throughout the last 18 months. Fortunately Dubai is now well and truly open for UK visitors.
3. We understand that another big development is being rolled out at Emirates with the launch of your Premium Economy cabin. Please tell us more?
We have introduced this new product on our A380 aircraft and by the end of November will have this on six of them. The product looks really special and will be located on the lower deck front cabin with 56 seats and a 40 inch seat pitch. We plan to have a commercial offering for our customers to buy the product in early 2022.
4. Expo 2020 recently opened in Dubai. Please tell us more about the significance of this event?
This is the first time Expo will be held in the middle East and started on the 1 October. It runs for six months till the end of March and we expect over 25 million visitors and will be the greatest show on earth. We are also giving our passengers a free Expo ticket when they purchase a ticket on Emirates to Dubai or beyond for the duration of the event.
If you are flying with Emirates between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, you can claim one complimentary Expo 2020 day pass for each person travelling by clicking here.
5. There are many ways that people can now book flights. How can travellers ensure they get the best seats and fares when booking with Emirates?
Meon Valley Travel has access to our best available fares in the market and will also provide a high level of service when booking. We highly recommend using your services as one of our key partners.
6. Many readers will have seen the amazing advert with an Emirates stewardess standing on the top of the Burj Khalifa. Would you have done this if asked and what is the most interesting thing you have had to do in the line of duty?
Definitely not as I am afraid of heights but the advert looked great and was an excellent way to show Dubai is open again for business and leisure. I was once asked to host a Q&A with Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals in London which was a really special opportunity.