Dubai, UAE, 4th February 2009 - Emirates Airline has scored an early goal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ by announcing flights to Durban from October 1st this year.The daily service will provide the only direct air link between the international aviation hub of Dubai and Durban, one of South Africa's host cities for FIFA-mania next year.
Emirates, an Official Partner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, already flies to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Durban will provide another gateway to the world's greatest football spectacle, one of South Africa's key tourism hubs and the busiest port in Africa.
Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Africa, West Asia & Indian Ocean, said: "With 2010 just around the corner, this is a great time to be adding routes in South Africa. The third gateway will bring benefits to our passengers and KwaZulu-Natal province well before, during and long after the FIFA World Cup, so a good result for South Africa and its increasing ties with Dubai and the Emirates network beyond."
Dubai Export Development Corporation figures show exports from the UAE to South Africa reached AED 2.3 billion in 2007, whilst exports from South Africa to the UAE reached almost AED 2.7 billion in the same period. Emirates SkyCargo will support this trade and plans an office in Durban. The airline's freight arm will offer up to 13 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.
Flight EK775 will depart Dubai at 0445hrs, arriving at Durban International Airport at 1130hrs. The return flight, EK 766, leaves Durban at 1300hrs and gets into Dubai at 2340hrs. A 278-seat Airbus A330-200 in a two-class configuration will be deployed on the flight, lasting around 8hrs 45 minutes.
Emirates currently flies to 15 destinations in Africa. Services to Johannesburg started in 1995 and flights now leave Dubai three times a day. In March of last year, the airline started a daily service to Cape Town.
Dubai-based and operating across six continents, Emirates has risen to prominence in the aviation industry in a remarkably short space of time, having only launched in 1985. Its quest for excellence, forward thinking and attention to detail have resulted in hundreds of awards from both the travel and tourism industry and the travelling public.
While many may consider Emirates simply an airline, the organisation has mushroomed into a travel and tourism conglomerate of the highest order. At the same time, it has become an astutely strategic sponsor of sports and culture around the globe. More than 50 different brands now make up the Emirates Group.