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Emirates — Flights, Punctuality & Cancellations in 2021

Here's the most in-depth operational analysis of Dubai-based Emirates. We've crunched data, calculated, and benchmarked Emirates' flights, punctuality, and cancellation rates in 2021. Here are the results!

Emirates — Flights, Punctuality & Cancellations in 2021

We are thrilled to continue our airline performance analysis with Emirates today. After looking at Saudi Arabian Airlines and Qatar Airways with our latest posts, we focused on the UAE carrier today. Therefore, we analyzed Emirates’ flight performance in 2021: We checked flight rankings, punctuality reports, and cancellation rates. Moreover, we benchmarked Emirates’ flight performance against regional and global averages. Here’s what’s contained in detail:

Flight Analysis
Monthly Flight Overview
Global & Europen Ranking By Number of Flights
Pre-COVID Benchmark

Flight Punctuality
Monthly Punctuality Overview
Global & European Ranking By Punctuality

Flight Cancellations
Monthly Cancellation Overview
Global & European Ranking By Cancellation Rate

Emirates — Flight Analysis

We kick off the analysis with details about Emirates flights from February to June 2021. Then, we also provide information on the carrier’s share in EMEA traffic on top of the overall numbers. Moreover, we compare the airline’s ranking to other EMEA and global airlines. Finally, and as the icing on the cake, we set Emirates’ flight performance in 2021 into relation to pre-COVID results from 2019. So let’s dive into the data!

Monthly Flight Overview

Emirates is one of the airlines that suffered the most from the pandemic. More than other airlines, Emirates operated a business model which is mainly focused on international transfer traffic. Obviously, it’s the international traffic that was hit the most by the pandemic. Therefore, as we will see later, Emirates operated a relatively small number of flights from February to June 2021. On top of that, the airline hasn’t significantly increased its number of flights during the first half of 2021. On the contrary, the number of monthly flights hovers relatively stable between 5,000 and 6,000.

Nonetheless, based on a growth rate of 7.2%, June’s flight figures show some positive momentum. However, compared to the results of many other airlines, such as Ryanair or Lufthansa, the increase wasn’t that big.

MonthNo. Flightsvs. prev. Month
Avg. ’215,462
Emirates – Number of Monthly Flights February – June 2021

In line with the non-existent growth, Emirates constantly lost its share concerning overall EMEA airlines traffic. For example, while Emirates’ flights accounted for almost 2.5% of EMEA flights in February, the percentage fell to 1.2% in June. Obviously, this results from growing other airlines’ increasing traffic when Emirates’ figures remain static.

Emirates' Share In Relation to Total EMEA Flights Feb - Jun '21
Emirates’ Share Concerning Total EMEA Flights Feb – Jun ’21
Emirates' - Number of flights per month Feb - Jun '21
Emirates’ – Number of flights per month Feb – Jun ’21

Global & European Ranking By Number of Flights

Like the constantly reduced market share, Emirates’ ranking by the number of flights has continuously decreased. With regards to EMEA, the airline lost nine positions and ranked 23rd by the end of June. Even worse: From a global perspective, Emirates is only considered as the 64th largest airline by flight numbers in June.

MonthDomestic Rank EMEA Rank Global Rank
Average ’2111756
Emirates – Global & European Ranking By Flight Numbers
Emirates average monthly flights in 2021

Pre-COVID Benchmark

If you went through the above ranking and wondered why Emirates is in such an inferior position, I have the answer for you at hand. With the below table, we’ve compared the number of flights Emirates performed in 2019—before the pandemic— and 2021 results. And you don’t have to be an expert to quickly discover the disaster. On average, Emirates has operated only 36% of the flights, the airline operated in pre-Corona time. So that’s almost 10,000 flights less — every single month!

MonthFlights 2021Flights 2019’21 vs. ’19 (abs)’21 vs. ’19 (%)
February4,96415,71610,752 31.5%
March5,72116,76211,041 34.1%
April5,74814,0328,284 40.9%
May5,24812,678 7,430 41.3%
June5,62915,81210,183 35.5%
Avg. ’215,46215,0009,538 36.6%
Emirates – Number of Monthly Flights Compared to Pre-COVID
Emirates Flights Comapred to pre-COVID

Emirates – Flight Punctuality

In the following chapter, we take a deeper look at Emirates’ flight punctuality. Again, we benchmark the EMEA averages and provide a domestic, regional, and global ranking.

Monthly Puncutality Overview

On average, Emirates’ flight punctuality from February to June was 91.3%. Accordingly, the performance was almost 10 pp better than the EMEA average. Moreover, the punctuality performance puts Emirates into one league with other big carriers that performed very well (Ryanair >92%, Aeroflot >92%, KLM >90%).

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneMonthly Average ’21
EMEA Average73.9%85.7%85.6%85.2%83.6%82.8%
Emirates – Punctuality for Flights February – June 2021
Emirates Average Flight Punctuality 2021

Emirates Flights — Global & European Ranking By Punctuality

Based on the shown performance, Emirates ranks in the first quarter from a global point of view. Out of ~280 airlines analyzed, Emirates ranks 55th on average. When looking at EMEA, Emirates also ranks in the first quarter.

MonthDomestic RankEMEA RankGlobal Rank
Average ’2112755
Emirates – Global & European Ranking By Punctuality


Emirates Flight Cancellations

In the last chapter of this report, we take a detailed look at Emirates’ flight cancellations. Similar to the previous chapter, we put results in relation to regional averages and provide rankings.

Monthly Cancellation Overview

When we put together Emirates’ results in terms of cancellations, we were amazed and disappointed. We were amazed because we haven’t analyzed an airline that operated for four consecutive months without any cancellations. Therefore, Emirates’ performance from February to May was outstanding. But, unfortunately, the June results messed up the overall performance, as we will see in the below ranking.

Nevertheless, and as already mentioned, Emirates delivered a fantastic performance when it comes to flight cancellations. Compared to the average EMEA value, the amount of cancellation was 3.64 pp lower.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneMonthly Average ’21
EMEA Average6.8%2.7%2.5%4.0%3.6%3.9%
Emirates – Cancellation February – June 2021
Emirates Flight Cancellation Rate 2021

Emirates Flights — EMEA Ranking by Cancellations

With the below ranking, you can see why we were somehow disappointed. From February to May, Emirates ranked second or third for both EMEA and globally. However, the sub-optimal performance in June impacts the average ranking heavily.

MonthDomestic RankEMEA RankGlobal Rank
Average ’2111625
Emirates – Global & European Ranking By Cancellations February – June 2021

Used Data

The shown information is based on OAG data and internal data sources. Rankings only included airlines that operated more than 500 flights in the respective month. However, the global benchmark includes all tracked flights. On average, 280 airlines are included in each month’s analysis. Whenever stated, EMEA refers to airlines based in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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