Emirates Airlines is to launch flights to Durban from 1 October this year. The daily service will provide the only direct air link between Dubai and Durban, one of South Africa’s host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Emirates already flies to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Durban will provide another gateway to the world’s greatest football spectacle, one of South Africa’s key tourism hubs and the busiest port in Africa.
Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Africa, West Asia & Indian Ocean, said: “With 2010 just around the corner, this is a great time to be adding routes in South Africa. The third gateway will bring benefits to our passengers and KwaZulu-Natal province well before, during and long after the FIFA World Cup, so a good result for South Africa and its increasing ties with Dubai and the Emirates network beyond.”
Dubai Export Development Corporation figures show exports from the UAE to South Africa reached AED 2.3 billion in 2007, whilst exports from South Africa to the UAE reached almost AED 2.7 billion in the same period. Emirates SkyCargo will support this trade and plans an office in Durban. The airline’s freight arm will offer up to 13 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.
Emirates currently flies to 15 destinations in Africa. Services to Johannesburg started in 1995 and flights now leave Dubai three times a day. In March of last year, the airline started a daily service to Cape Town. The airlines scooped “Middle East’s Leading Airline Inflight Entertainment” at the 2008 World Travel Awards.