Don McWilliam, Emirates Country Manager for Canada

Don McWilliam – Country Manager for Canada, Emirates

Don McWilliam, Emirates Country Manager for Canada Emirates has been on an incredible growth trajectory over the past several years. Taking delivery of four new aircraft in one day is just the start, says Don McWilliam, Emirates Country Manager for Canada.

1. How is Emirates expanding its reach in terms of network and fleet?

McWilliam: Emirates has been very focused on growth over the past few years, and has celebrated incredible landmarks. In September, for example, Emirates celebrated the company record arrival of four new aircraft in one day, affirming its commitment to flying a modern, efficient and comfortable fleet. The bumper delivery included two Boeing 777-300ERs, one Boeing 777 Freighter and one A380 aircraft. The airline now boasts 224 passenger and 15 freighter aircraft in its all wide-bodied fleet.

We also continue to expand our already extensive global network. This year alone, we launched routes to destinations including Bali, Multan, Mashhad and Orlando. Currently, we serve 147 destinations in 79 countries and territories.

2. Emirates is in the midst of planning a pilot recruitment event in Toronto. Does this speak to the company’s growth?

McWilliam: The Pilot Recruitment Day, which will be held on Oct. 23 and 24 in Toronto, is designed to offer interested applicants the opportunity to explore their dream job and learn about living in cosmopolitan Dubai. As the company continues to grow, Emirates is always on the lookout for dedicated employees, who are open-minded, helpful, friendly and service-oriented. Emirates boasts a diverse workforce comprised of passionate and talented individuals from more than 160 countries, including more than 700 Canadian employees.

3. What sort of offering does Emirates have for the Canadian market, and what’s ahead?

McWilliam: Emirates is dedicated to flying Canadian travellers to Dubai and beyond, and since 2007, the airline has been serving Canada with three nonstop A380 flights per week from Toronto to Dubai.

Emirates also connects passengers from many points in Canada to gateways in the U.S. through interline agreements with Alaska Airlines, Porter Airlines and WestJet. These agreements are increasing Canadian access to the extensive Emirates network, while also allowing our customers to enjoy the simplicity of one-stop reservation, ticketing, check-in, seat assignments, boarding passes and baggage check to final destinations.

It’s no secret that Emirates is interested in Canadian route expansion, which we believe will increase competition, choice of service and air connectivity for Canadian travellers. Late in 2014, Emirates was asked to make a submission to the Canadian Transportation Act Review, which detailed our perspective on these issues in the context of the Canadian marketplace. We are optimistic there will be positive news for Emirates in terms of increased landing rights in the future, but for now Emirates leaves the discussion up to the Canadian and UAE governments.

4. Emirates is wrapping up a four-week long ad campaign on the TTC. What markets are you hoping to target with it?

McWilliam: Emirates has an incredible network, which opens Canadians up to an impressive variety of destinations around the world, and this campaign provided us with a really unique opportunity to showcase that network to Toronto commuters.

This particular initiative was very exciting for us, because while we have done similar campaigns in the past, we had never really attempted anything on this scale before. Our goal was to pique Canadian interest in our many global destinations, and the response to date has been very enthusiastic.

Emirates TTC campaign

Emirates TTC campaign

Emirates TTC campaign

5. You’ve no doubt travelled many times to Dubai. What do you love most about the city and why does it make a great hub?

McWilliam: As a stopover destination, Dubai’s key differentiator is its proximity to such a wide variety of destinations. A huge number of extremely diverse locales are within an eight-hour flight of the city, and travellers are really starting to take notice of the ease of access Dubai International airport provides.

In fact, Dubai International Airport actually overtook Heathrow as the number one airport for international passengers last year.

Dubai is a fantastic destination for Canadians; it’s home to beautiful beaches, world-class shopping, dining and nightlife, exciting events and sporting championships. Last year the UAE won the right to host the World Expo in Dubai in 2020, a wonderful opportunity that will bring some 25 million passengers to the city. Excitement about the city is definitely growing.