Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, underlined its commitment to Zimbabwe and Zambia yesterday by announcing a daily service on the Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route beginning October 1.The linked service, which currently operates five times a week, has performed strongly since its launch on February 1 this year. To date, Emirates has carried over 43 000 passengers on the route.
In a statement, Jean Luc Grillet, senior vice-president of commercial operations for Africa, said the move was testament to the continuous upward growth in demand for flights to and from the continent.
“A daily flights to Lusaka and Harare will mean greater choice for customers, while an increased cargo capacity of 40% will facilitate more export business opportunities for both countries, forging greater trade links and increasing access to key trading partners in Asia and the Middle East,” he said.
According to Emirates, a weekly cargo capacity of 224 tonnes and access to Emirates’ network of more than 120 destinations worldwide, is already supporting a range of exports from both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Key commodities being shipped from Lusaka and Harare include fresh flowers, fruit, vegetables and copper mining industry by-products.
Tourism is another key beneficiary, with Emirates’ Zimbabwe service supporting the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Tourism ministry targets for increased visitor arrivals to five million by 2015.
It is expected that Emirates flights to the country would support the tourism sector to contribute over $5 billion to the economy by 2015.
The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route is serviced by an A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering 12 luxurious first-class seats, 42 seats in business class and generous space for 183 passengers in economy class.
With a fleet of 175 aircraft and already the largest Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 operator in the world, Emirates currently flies to 123 destinations in 73 countries.