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 1st December 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.
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 developed as a tourist attraction in the 1970s, adds a ‘Miami’ feel to the city of Durban and provides a happy playground for glorious fun in the sun. Enchanting, vibrant and historic - Durban promises an ideal family vacation with luxury resorts, glorious beaches and green country treats.
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 containerised 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 travellers 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 travellers who can now avoid travelling 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 14 tonnes of belly-hold cargo capacity that will facilitate efficient and timely imports of chemicals, petroleum products, and foodstuff from Germany, United Kingdom, China and the United States of America.
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 6,600 kms in 8 hours 40 minutes.