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Emirates breaks new ground in Africa with forays into Durban, Luanda

Stories by Kenneth Ehigiator
Emirates is expanding its operations in Africa, with plans to launch new routes in Angola and South Africa.
Consequently, management of the airline has embarked on an intensive road show to sensitise Africans on the proposed service to both countries.

While the airline has concluded plans to start Durban, South Africa operation on October 1, 2009, that of Luanda, Angola, is scheduled to start off October 25.

The main thrust of the road show activities comes from Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of Emirates, whose road show will cover more than a dozen towns and cities across South Africa between July 22nd and August 23rd.

Emirates Holidays, equipped with its 2009/10 brochure, A World of Choice, will be promoting its 120 destinations in key shopping malls and briefing travel agents throughout the country.

The Emirates’ Holidays road show kicked off in Durban on July 22nd and takes in places such as Umhlanga, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth , Knysna, George, Cape Town , Polokwane and Bloemfontein , before wrapping up in Johannesburg a month later.

Despite the world’s economic difficulties, the tour operating arm of Emirates has experienced an increase in year on year sales and South Africa is one of the strongest performing markets, both inbound and outbound. The launch of daily flights to Durban will supplement a daily service into Cape Town and a triple daily into Johannesburg .

John Felix, Senior Vice President, Emirates Holidays, said: “ South Africa is one of our top revenue markets and it’s important for us to get out there and reinforce our brand presence. It’s also an opportunity for us to build relationship, make new contacts and fine_tune our products based on market feedback so we can ensure that our customers are getting the very best service and value for money.
“A road show of this size is particularly significant in these tougher economic times and very much demonstrates our commitment to the industry, our partners and our clients.”

On the airline side, the final touches are being put to plans to bring together more than 1,000 travel industry representatives for a major road show event in Durban on July 27.

The high-profile gathering will generate the usual Emirates’ buzz, introducing the airline to the coastal city alongside top entertainment, ahead of the first flight from Dubai on October .

Meanwhile, to the northwest in Angola , Emirates is working on a launch event in Luanda , which will celebrate the arrival of the carrier in the Angolan capital on October 25th. Top travel industry figures, business partners and senior government officials are expected to attend to mark the three flights a week service.

Nigel Page, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Americas & Africa, said: “Africa has played an increasing role in the expansion of Emirates since we launched flights to Cairo back in 1986. With its burgeoning commercial activity and rapid development, we look forward to further exciting work on the continent, while at the same time playing our part in supporting Africa ‘s economic growth.”

Emirates SkyCargo will provide assistance on both routes with the belly hold of passenger aircraft being used to transport a range of mostly consumer commodities in and out of the trade-rich continent.

The carrier has been gradually strengthening its services across Africa . In February this year, Emirates went double daily to Lagos , while the Nairobi route will be boosted with an extra weekly flight from August 1st. On the same day, daily flights to Tunis and Tripoli become de-linked.

In all, 16 passenger and cargo destinations are currently served in Africa . They are: Abidjan , Accra , Addis Ababa , Cairo , Cape Town , Casablanca , Dar es Salaam , Eldoret, Entebbe , Johannesburg , Khartoum , Lagos , Lilongwe , Nairobi , Tripoli and Tunis .

Mr Page added: “It’s highly significant that Africa is the only continent where Emirates has announced new routes for this year, despite the challenging industry conditions. We also have around 4,000 Africans amongst the 140 or so nationalities employed across the Emirates Group.”

Since establishing itself as an airline in 1985, Emirates has mushroomed into a major player on the international travel and tourism stage. More than 50 brands now make up the Emirates Group including Emirates Holidays, Emirates SkyCargo, Emirates Hotels & Resorts, Skywards and Dnata.


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