Emirates is celebrating a milestone in its operations to South Africa, marking 10 years of service to the port city of Durban. The first Emirates flight between Durban and Dubai operated on 1, October 2009, and the airline has since carried over two million passengers on the route.
“The past 10 years have been both rewarding and fulfilling – we have seen our Durban route steadily grow both in passenger and cargo figures and contribute to our overall success in South Africa. We have worked hard to deliver a world-class product while celebrating the many cultures we connect; and Durbanites can look forward to local favourites included in our menu, a film from the city on ice, or meeting someone from ‘home’ amongst our diverse cabin crew. I feel proud to be part of a team that has brought these memorable travel experiences to life, not only for Durban locals but for all South Africans,” said Fouad Caunhye, Regional Manager of Emirates Southern Africa.
From its busy port facilitating global trade to its vibrant culture and distinctive landscape, the city has become a hub for trade and tourism over the past decade. The diverse KwaZulu-Natal city has also seen a growing demand for travel in and out of its borders. Year on year, travellers using King Shaka International Airport have steadily increased, particularly international travellers. The top destinations for travel into Durban across Emirates’ network include UAE, UK, USA, India and Germany.
Emirates staff have seen the airline grow over the past decade. “Emirates is very close to my heart. I am proud to be part of our phenomenal journey, from that very first flight to where we are now and the affection we enjoy in Durban,” said Jeenesha Baichan, Emirates Airport Services Manager, Durban.
“Being part of the Durban start-up operation and watching it grow from infancy to the successful daily operation it is today, has definitely been a career highlight for me. It is an incredible feeling and the result of the hard work and dedication of our team,” said Robyn Stander, Emirates Sales Manager, Durban.
According to KwaZulu-Natal Province’s Leader of Government Business, and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs – Nomusa Dube-Ncube, over the years Emirates has been a reliable partner.
“We will continue to work with the airline to position this province as a destination for tourists and for those who want to do business. We are looking forward to another ten years of increase in the number of visitors to KZN.”
Earlier this year, Emirates introduced its award-winning First Class travel experience to the coastal city during a seasonal increase of four additional flights a week between 14 June and 04 August 2019, allowing travellers to enjoy the luxury product offering that the airline is known for. The airline also introduced chef-prepared, Indian-inspired meals, such as the Durban classic Lamb Bunny Chow and Tandoori Prawns with spiced pineapple and curry mayonnaise, bringing local flavours onboard.
Emirates SkyCargo also remains a key enabler in facilitating global trade and export in South Africa by carrying over 38,000 tons of cargo to and from Durban over the last five years, with the majority being automotive and shipping components and perishables. Top Emirates destinations that Durban locals travel to include London, Mumbai, Delhi, Phuket, Bangkok, China and Amsterdam.
Emirates was recently awarded Best International Airline in the Business category and came in second place as the Overall Favourite Brand in the business category, a Grand Prix award, at the 2019 Sunday Times Top Brands Awards.