WAM DUBAI, Oct 02nd, 2011 (WAM)–Johannesburg welcomed its first scheduled Emirates A380 service yesterday, as flight EK761 from Dubai arrived at O R Tambo International Airport.
“The demand for Emirates’ services in and out of Johannesburg has always been high, with passenger growth of more than 27 percent over the last year. It is fitting that our A380 is now serving South Africa and we would like to thank the Department of Transport and OR Tambo International Airport for their efforts in enabling us to bring this exceptional aircraft to Johannesburg,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Africa.
“The UAE and South Africa’s strong and successful relationship has been built on the twin pillars of trade and tourism. In introducing our flagship aircraft and the extra capacity it offers, Emirates will help to further boost this important partnership,” added Grillet.
Over the last year, Emirates has carried more than 900,000 passengers across its three South African gateways – Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. In the first eight months of 2011, the airline also carried more than 37,500 tonnes of high value cargo on its South African routes, with exports up 26 percent from the same period in 2010.
“Our world-class infrastructure investment in O R Tambo International Airport is integral to the continued economic growth of Johannesburg, the primary passenger and freight gateway into Africa,” said Vuwani Ndwamato, Director Air Transport at the Department of Transport . “The introduction of the Emirates A380 exemplifies our efforts to power a world-class city and stimulate investment to strengthen South Africa’s position as a major player in the global economy,” Ndwamato added.
Emirates is the largest operator of the environmentally friendly double-decker aircraft, flying the A380 to London Heathrow (double-daily), Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jeddah, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland.
From 1st December 2011, the A380 will also begin serving Kuala Lumpur and Rome, followed by Munich from 1st January 2012.
So far in 2011, Emirates has launched passenger flights to Basra, Geneva and Copenhagen. St Petersburg will be launched on 1st November, followed by Baghdad on 13th November; and Dublin, Rio and Buenos Aires in January 2012. Emirates’ 20th and 21st destinations within Africa – Lusaka and Harare – will launch on 1st February 2012.