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Emirates steps up operations to Rainbow nation

Relations between the UAE and South Africa are set to strengthen with prospects of increased economic and trade activity, as Dubai-based carrier, Emirates, adds four additional flights to its existing double-daily…

Relations between the UAE and South Africa are set to strengthen with prospects of increased economic and trade activity, as Dubai-based carrier, Emirates, adds four additional flights to its existing double-daily Johannesburg service, starting 1st June.



Emirates, one of the fastest-growing global airlines will introduce its third daily flight to the South African capital city every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The additional frequencies will be operated by a two-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offering 42 Business and 385 Economy Class seats together with industry-leading comforts such as mood lighting to minimise jet lag, and ice – the Emirates’ pioneered Information, Communication and Entertainment system offering 600 channels of entertainment.



Nasser bin Kherbash, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Africa said: “There is a strong and growing demand for convenient air travel connections between South Africa and cities in the Middle East. Emirates is delighted to be launching four additional services and stepping up its Johannesburg presence to 18 weekly flights, enabling us to better service our customers’ travel needs.”



“The extra flights will introduce over 1700 seats and 66-plus tonnes of cargo capacity per week per direction, benefiting traders and businessmen in the UAE and South Africa; both primary trading and distribution hubs for their respective regions. The UAE offers immense potential not only as a regional hub of trade and commerce but also as the biggest re-export centre in the Middle East. An ideal staging post for business ventures, the UAE and in particular Dubai stands connected to bigger markets beyond with Emirates’ 158 weekly flights to 12 key Middle Eastern gateways.” he added.



South African exports to the UAE, its 22nd largest export destination, comprise gold, metals, steel, minerals and foodstuff, and have been growing annually at 40 percent to touch Dhs 2.04 billion (Rand 3.98 billion) in 2006.



In the reverse direction, the UAE’s exports to South Africa, comprising machinery, transportation equipment, electronic and home appliances have grown at nearly 50 percent per year.



Emirates’ services will also help to boost the promising growth in tourism between the two countries. “South Africa, one of the top holiday destinations for UAE’s leisure travellers, offers outstandingly beautiful scenery, spectacular wildlife parks with big game opportunities, top-of-the-line holiday resorts such as the Lost City and Sun City, and very good shopping – attributes that appeal to UAE-based travellers,” added Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ Regional Manager Southern Africa.



Likewise, Dubai has become a major attraction for South Africans visiting the emirate. In 2006 over 81,000 South African visitors stayed at Dubai’s hotels, bearing testimony to this trend.



Emirates’ increasing services will also positively impact and support the reciprocal skills enhancement programme which involves South African graduates travelling to the UAE to gain hands-on work experience in its booming business environment, and the UAE sending its nationals to South Africa on a reciprocal exchange programme.



Emirates flight EK 765 bound for Johannesburg will take off from Dubai at 14:40 hours every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, arriving at its destination at 20:50 hours. Return flight EK 766 will depart OR Thambo International Airport at 22:30 hours, arriving in Dubai at 08:30 hours next morning, in time to begin business.

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