Emirates’ popular A380 aircraft returned to South African skies today for the start of a scheduled service between Dubai and Johannesburg. The city becomes Emirates’ 46th destination in its global network to which it operates the double-decker aircraft.
The A380 offers a total of 516 seats in a three-class cabin configuration with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 mini pods with lie-flat seats in Business Class and 426 spacious seats in Economy Class.
“Emirates operates four flights a day between the two cities with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, but due to growing demand for seats on the route, we decided to operate one of these flights with the larger A380. Over the past five years Emirates’ passenger numbers on the route have grown by 47 percent,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Africa.
“Customers love the Emirates A380 and since joining our fleet in 2008 the aircraft continues to delight and excite them wherever it operates. Its popularity and the additional capacity it offers will further stimulate growth in both outbound and inbound leisure and business travel. The deployment of the A380 underscores our confidence in the route.”
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, said, “We welcome the inaugural flight of Emirates’ flagship aircraft to Johannesburg. Introducing the A380 on this route symbolises Emirates’ commitment to the development of tourism in South Africa. It indicates confidence in our country’s enduring tourism offerings and the potential for even further growth, following the strong surge in international arrivals last year.
“The new aircraft’s additional seating capacity, the range of cabin options and the private suites will satisfy the growing demand for travel to South Africa from the global tourism and corporate sector, which will also enhance trade and investment opportunities. The Department of Tourism and our partners in the tourism trade enjoy a close and fruitful relationship with Emirates. We look forward to continue collaborating as we grow tourism in South Africa, and grow its impact on our economy.”
Congratulating Emirates on the new service, Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South African Tourism, said, “As an organisation we have a close working relationship with the aviation industry, and Emirates in particular who play a key role in making South Africa accessible to the many tourists travelling to South Africa. We saw a 37.4% growth from the Middle East from January to October 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. This increased capacity will help us achieve our mandate of increasing tourist arrivals into the country. South African Tourism looks forward to further collaborations with Emirates Airlines in bringing more tourists into South Africa, more frequently.”
Emirates first started services to South Africa 22 years ago and in addition to the four daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg, it also offers three daily flights between Dubai and Cape Town, and a daily flight between Dubai and Durban, enabling global connectivity for South African travellers through its worldwide network of more than 150 destinations.
All other Emirates flights between Dubai and South Africa will continue to be served by the modern and also popular Boeing 777.
The Emirates A380 is renowned for its on-board lounge on the upper deck for First Class and Business Class customers where they can socialise or relax, while those in First Class enjoy the added benefit of exclusive use of the on-board shower spas to freshen up during flights. Customers travelling on the A380 will be able to access more than 2500 channels of on-demand audio and visual entertainment on its ice system, featuring the latest movies, music, TV programmes, podcasts and games.
As with all Emirates’ flights, customers also enjoy regionally and internationally inspired cuisine as well as the famed hospitality of the airline’s multi-national cabin crew, including South African nationals.
Emirates, which is the world’s largest operator of A380s with 92 currently in its fleet and a further 50 on order, serves some of the world’s most popular destinations with the aircraft, which amongst others include New York, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Madrid, Munich, Barcelona, Paris, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland.