Emirates passengers can look forward to a warm welcome on and off the aircraft after the airline unveiled plans to launch direct services to Senegal – known as the land of ‘Teranga’ or hospitality because of its friendly and welcoming people.
The West African nation will be Emirates’ 106th international destination, and closely follows new route announcements to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague and Madrid, also launching in 2010. Dakar is the airline’s third new African destination in less than 12 months, after Durban and Luanda joined the network in late 2009.
Starting 1st September 2010, Emirates will fly non-stop to Dakar five times a week on every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The service will be operated by an Airbus A340-300 aircraft, offering a three-class configuration of 12 First Class, 42 Business and 213 Economy Class seats.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said: “We are delighted to announce Dakar as our nineteenth destination into Africa. This new route further underlines our commitment to Africa, as we seek to continuously strengthen our services across the continent.”
Sheikh Ahmed continued: “This service will link Dakar to Emirates’ network of over 100 international markets spanning six continents, facilitating the smooth transfer of business and leisure travellers as well as cargo. It is a significant next step in further strengthening ties between the United Arab Emirates and Senegal, as the two nations continue to collaborate on many significant projects.”
His Excellency Karim Wade, Senior Minister, Ministry of International Cooperation, National Planning, Air Transport and Infrastructure, Senegal said: “As the first direct service between Senegal and the UAE, this new route will deliver a significant boost to our nation’s trade, commerce and tourism industries.”
Mr Wade continued: “I am proud that Senegal continues to forge new links with the United Arab Emirates. Just as our countries share an ‘open skies’ agreement, so we also share a strong tradition of hospitality and Senegal looks forward to extending a warm welcome to Emirates and all its customers.”
The announcement of the Senegal service comes as economic activity between the two nations continues to blossom. Dubai’s non-oil trade with Senegal has increased significantly in recent years – from $61.9M per year in 2005 to $130.2M per year in 2008 – an average annual growth of 28 per cent.
DP World was recently awarded the concession to develop and operate the existing container terminal at Dakar and invest in a new container terminal at the city’s Port du Futur, while the Jebel Ali Free Zone is developing a special economic free zone connected to Senegal’s new Blaise Diagne Airport, which is currently under construction.
In November 2009, the Emirates Group announced a joint agreement with the Government of Senegal to assist in the start up and longer term future of Senegal Airlines. The Group will provide commercial support, technical expertise, training and aviation-related goods and services for the fledgling carrier, which is due to commence operations later this year.
Emirates Flight 797 will depart Dubai at 09:55 and touch down at Dakar’s Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport at 16:00hrs the same day. The return flight departs Dakar at 17:40, arriving in Dubai at 07:15 the following morning. The service connects seamlessly to key centres in the Middle East, the Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East.
The 18 tonnes of belly-hold cargo capacity on the A340-300 aircraft will support key Senegalese exports such as fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, primarily destined for EK destinations in the Mediterranean such as Athens, Larnaca and Beirut.