Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) is planning to "redefine" its business model in the post-COVID world and will focus more on bringing travellers into Dubai rather than relying heavily on the connecting traffic via its hub at Dubai Int'l, Chief Operating Officer Adel al Redha told Reuters.

"Surely what used to work for us in the past is not going to work for us going forward," al Redha said.

He underlined that the airline would start deploying smaller aircraft in 2023 when deliveries of its thirty firm-ordered B787-9s from Boeing are due to commence. This, as well as closer cooperation with narrowbody-operating sister carrier flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l), will give the airline more flexibility.

"Going forward, we cannot sustain long-term operating on that kind of fleet. We need to inject the smaller type," al Redha said.

The COO underlined that not all of Emirates' 114 A380-800s will be reactivated in the short-term, although he did not give any further details about the timeline for the type's redeployment. He underlined that while the airline was in talks about the deferral of the last three A380-800s of its eight outstanding on order - the final units of the type due to be produced by Airbus - it was not negotiating to cancel any outstanding orders.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Emirates currently operates 114 A380-800s, ten B777-200(LR)s, and 132 B777-300(ER)s, as well as a single ACJ319-100 and eleven B777-Fs. Its smallest passenger aircraft, the B777-200(LR), can seat up to 302 passengers. The B787-9s, in turn, typically are outfitted with less than 300 passenger seats across all classes.

Besides the B787-9s and the A380-800s, Emirates also has firm orders for fifty A350-900s, fourteen B777-8s, and 101 B777-9s.