Following the successful start of operations in Cape Town, Emirates Airline will advance its presence in South Africa with the introduction of daily flights to Durban, effective December 1st, 2008.
The new service ’ Emirates’ third direct connection between Dubai and South Africa ’ underscores its commitment to the South African market, and comes close on the heels of the launch of its third-daily service to Johannesburg in 2007 and daily service to Cape Town in 2008. Passengers traveling to South Africa from the United States will be able to connect via Emirates flights from New York’s JFK and Houston. Emirates will launch non-stop service from Los Angeles on September 1st and from San Francisco on October 26th.
First discovered by Vasco de Gama in 1497, Durban lies in the heart of KwaZulu Natal, otherwise known as the Zulu Kingdom, and is a fascinating blend of British, Zulu and Indian history. The Golden Mile, a popular stretch of beachfront, was developed as a tourist attraction in the 1970s and adds a ‘Miami’ feel to the city. Durban is an ideal family vacation spot with luxury resorts, glorious beaches and lush green countryside.
Durban’s advantageous location on the east coast of South Africa makes it a natural hub for trade with the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific countries, boosting its status as Africa’s largest port and the world’s ninth busiest. Currently handling 50 percent of the country’s break-bulk cargo and 65 percent of its containerized traffic, Durban will play a catalytic role in strengthening trade movement between the UAE and South Africa.
Durban, Emirates 16th passenger destination in Africa, will accelerate the Dubai-based airline’s weekly capacity into the continent to 93 flights.
Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline noted: ‘Emirates is grateful to the Government of South Africa for granting us the permission to launch operations to Durban. I am confident the new service will foster greater business, tourism and cultural exchange, and prove an asset in the growth plans of Durban.’
‘Our flights will provide travelers from key cities in Europe, the Indian-sub continent and Middle East a direct access to Durban and will strengthen inbound tourist arrivals. At the same time it will open up a direct link to over 90 global destinations for Durban’s outbound travelers who can now avoid traveling via Johannesburg.’
He added: ‘Africa is key to Emirates’ global network expansion strategy. We currently operate 86 flights per week to 15 African gateways and owing to the continent’s growing economy and escalating demand for air travel, these flights operate at robust seat factors of over 80 percent. Emirates will continue to spread its wings in the African skies.’
Emirates will serve Durban with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft offering 27 Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats. Onboard passengers will enjoy multi-course meals with ethnic dishes prepared by master chefs; attentive service from the airline’s multi-lingual cabin crew; personal entertainment systems; and quieter and more restful cabins equipped with wider seats.
The wide-bodied aircraft also offers almost 15 tons of belly-hold cargo capacity that will facilitate efficient and timely imports of chemicals, petroleum products, and foodstuff from the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and China.
Metals, minerals, machinery, equipment, agricultural and dairy products figure prominently in South Africa’s list of exported commodities. Emirates SkyCargo is ideally placed to help Durban strengthen links with its existing trade partners and kick-start exports to newer markets.
The Dubai-Durban flight will cover a distance of over 4,101 miles in 8 hours 40 minutes.
The exciting new addition brings Emirates frequencies to South Africa to 35 flights per week.