King Shaka International Airport has welcomed the Emirates’ inaugural Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in Durban, South Africa.
The new 354-seat aircraft introduces Emirates’ renowned First Class cabin on the Durban route and boosts passenger capacity by close to 30 percent, confirming Emirates’ continuing growth in South Africa. Emirates, which previously operated the smaller capacity Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the Durban route, currently serves 22 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent after the addition of Zambia and Zimbabwe in February this year.
“Durban is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations and the introduction of the new Boeing 777 is a direct response to increasing passenger demand on this route,” said Fouad Caunhye, Emirates’ Regional Manager, Southern Africa. “Emirates carried over 165,000 passengers on flights to and from Durban in 2011. With the new Boeing 777 service we expect this to grow by nearly a third as our customers continue to explore the opportunities Emirates’ global network has to offer.”
The Boeing 777 offers the highest standards of passenger comfort, with eight luxurious private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 304 generously-sized Economy Class seats.
All classes of the aircraft are equipped with Emirates award-winning ice entertainment system with more than 1,200 channels of on-demand entertainment to choose from. This includes 200 movies from around the world, 100 TV channels, more than 500 audio channels, 100 video games and news, as well as sports and business headlines.
Customers can also look forward to gourmet food in all cabins and seamless transfers to the Emirates’ extensive global network through the airline’s state-of-the-art Terminal 3 hub in Dubai.
In addition to the boost to tourism in the region, the introduction of the new service also confirms Durban’s increasing influence as one of the key trading hubs in South Africa. In 2011, Emirates SkyCargo – the freight arm of the airline - carried over 5,240 tonnes of cargo on the route led by high-value South African exports, which included automobile and machinery parts, engineering tools, clothing consumer goods, as well as electronics.
“The introduction of the Boeing 777 will provide a 90 percent increase in cargo capacity on the Durban route,” said Kum Naicker, Cargo Manager at Emirates SkyCargo. “The port of Durban is already the busiest in Africa and one of the largest in the world. This, coupled with the increase in cargo capacity resulting from the new Boeing 777 service and the continuing growth of the Dube TradePort, will truly confirm Durban’s position as Africa’s global trade gateway.”
“The Dube TradePort welcomes the launch of Emirates B777-300ER daily service to King Shaka International Airport in Durban,” said Ahmed Bassa, Project Executive, Aeronautical, Dube Trade Port. “This bears testimony to the growing passenger and freight market opportunities the east coast of South Africa has to offer the aviation industry. We are particularly pleased that for the very first time First Class will be offered to passengers and additional cargo capacity will be available to the local industry.”