Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, announced today that Johannesburg, the industrial and economic capital of South Africa, will be the next destination slated for its flagship A380 aircraft. The daily A380 service will start 1 October 2011. The announcement of Emirates’ first scheduled A380 service to Africa comes as the airline unveiled its full year financial results for 2010-11. These revealed a surge in the number of South African travellers flying with Emirates – with total passenger growth up 12 percent over the previous financial year. Overall revenue from the South African market also rose sharply, up 34 percent from 2009-10.
The year that saw South Africa host the highly successful 2010 FIFA World Cup also saw Emirates record a huge rise in inbound traffic to South Africa – with passenger volumes up 20 percent in the calendar year 2010. As an official FIFA Partner, Emirates helped to bring the world to South Africa by flying in football fans from across its network of six continents.
“We have enjoyed a successful partnership with South Africa since launching services in 1995, and now connect our Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban gateways to our vast global network through 42 non-stop flights each week to Dubai," said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline. "The very positive trends we have witnessed over the last 12 months will only be boosted by the arrival of our flagship A380 aircraft, which has set a new benchmark for air travel.”
“Our A380 demonstrates the future of aviation - both in terms of passenger experience and environmental sensitivity," he added. "By launching the aircraft to Johannesburg, we are further underlining our commitment to serving South Africa and we anticipate very strong demand from leisure and business travelers keen to experience its unique features and unparalleled levels of comfort in the air.”
The 489-seat Emirates A380 offers 14 Private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 399 seats in Economy Class. First Class passengers have access to two Onboard Shower Spas, while all premium passengers on the upper deck can socialise at 40,000 feet in the Onboard Lounge. Beverages and bar snacks are served once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude - all the way until descent.
The A380 service will operate daily as EK 761, departing Dubai at 0440hrs (local time) and arriving at O R Tambo International Airport at 1050hrs (local). The return flight, EK762, departs Johannesburg at 1410hrs (local) and arrives in Dubai at 0010hrs (local) the following day.
The arrival time of the A380 in Dubai will offer passengers from South Africa convenient connections to an extensive range of destinations within Europe, which following the 1 June launch of Geneva and the Copenhagen launch on 1 August, will stand at 27. Passengers will also be able to connect seamlessly to a wide range of points within the Middle and Far East.
Customers wishing to break their journey in Dubai will discover a huge variety of things to see and do in what is often billed as the world’s ultimate stopover city. Attractions range from world-class golf courses to indoor skiing, fine dining to desert safaris and shopping options spanning from gold, diamond and spice souks to chic designer boutiques; not to mention the chance to get a true birds-eye view of the gleaming cityscape from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Johannesburg is the most populous city in South Africa and capital of the Gauteng province, the country’s wealthiest province and home to approximately nine million residents. The city, which is located on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills, is also a thriving centre for the gold and diamond trade.
The new A380 service will also help to support the thriving trade relationship between South Africa and the UAE, which has enjoyed an average year-on-year growth of eight per cent since 2007. Total trade volumes rose from $1,379,000 in 2007 to $1,749,000 in 2010.
Emirates currently operates a three times daily service to Johannesburg, a double-daily service to Cape Town and a daily service to Durban; while the airline’s fleet of 15 A380s operate on services from Dubai to London Heathrow (double-daily), Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jeddah, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland.
Emirates currently serves 19 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent.