Thursday, 4 September 2008
Emirates has got a new toy and this is a picture of it. I guarantee this will be the picture the papers run tomorrow for no better reason than the other one of the two they sent out with the press release was crap.
The new terminal will go operational on the 14th October, launching flights in a three-phase, staged cut-over from the existing terminal which is, as eny fule no, totally maxed to the max and beyond, with the morning busy period being my personal favourite hellish awful airport experience. Now that will all be (we hope!) a thing of the past.
Perhaps interestingly, EK has learned from its erstwhile friends over at BA/BAA and has gone for a cautious, carefully phased move to operations rather than lunge at it like an over-eager schoolboy discovering his first bra strap.
Phase one will be America and the GCC. Phase two the rest of MEA and then the third phase will see all EK flights cut over - some 269 flights a day.
The new terminal is something else: it'll feature 250 check-in counters, including 126 for cattle class, a set of outsize baggage check-ins located in the car park (neat, huh?) and a dedicated floor of 'themed lounges' that'll offer some 2,000 lucky little pampered pax a slice of pre-flight luxury.
I have to admire Emirates, and often do (I am, remember, a paid-up fanclub member) although humbly suggest that they haven't quite got the tone right in their media releases. The gushing hyperbole can come from the media - the releases don't have to claim things like 'a well-orchestrated move' and 'a well planned move'. That conclusion's for the media and public it serves to reach later on - with hindsight and success in hand. Alternatively, it's appropriate for that kind of endorsement of the company's work to come from a third party - for instance, a third-party analyst saying that Emirates' move has been well-orchestrated. Coming from the company itself, that kind of language can trip you up. It's that kind of 'we've got it right and we're great' language that contributed to the pasting BA got over T5.
The facts, with EK's T3, speak for themselves. You can see the care they're putting in, the planning and professionalism that's going into it. The releases don't actually have to make claims of excellence or performance. EK doesn't, IMHO, need (or want) to do that.
People will be more likely to let the occasional hiccup or teething problem go if they haven't been bombarded by how clever Emirates is. A little touch of humility often goes a long, long way. Even if you are announcing that sliced Hovis is, indeed, a thing of the past!
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