DUBAI: Emirates announced that it will be expanding its operations in and out of South Africa, boosting its schedule to 28 weekly flights by October. This is the airline’s largest weekly schedule to South Africa since the start of the pandemic, which aims to bring more competitive choices for customers wishing to visit Dubai, and through Dubai to the airline’s network of over 120 global destinations.
The ramp-up of operations will see double daily flights to Johannesburg, including the introduction of Emirates’ iconic A380 on one of the daily flights, in addition to daily services to both Cape Town and Durban. The new frequencies and capacity increases across all of the airline’s gateways in South Africa are effective from 31 October 2021.
From 1 January 2022, Emirates will serve Johannesburg with double daily A380 services. The airline’s flagship and customer favourite will offer South African passengers the best experience in the sky with signature features like First Class private suites, luxurious Shower Spa, the ever-popular Onboard Lounge, in addition to spacious seating in Economy and Premium Economy Class cabins* featuring the industry’s largest seatback screens for customers to enjoy over 4,500 channels of on-demand entertainment on ice.
Emirates’ flight schedule expansion comes in response to a surge in customer demand to Dubai as tourist visas have opened up for all nationalities, in addition to the easing of restrictions across some destinations that now allow quarantine-free entry for South Africans. Emirates is also firmly committed to supporting the recovery of South Africa’s tourism industry through facilitating enhanced connectivity for international visitors into the country.
Dubai has long been one of the most popular holiday getaways for South African travellers, and remains among the world’s most visited and recommended destinations, with world-class experiences and new attractions that cater to every age, background and budget. The city safely welcomed over 4 million overnight leisure and business visitors since it reopened in July 2020. With Expo 2020 Dubai just around the corner, the city is also preparing to welcome visitors for the world’s largest gathering which includes next-generation themed pavilions, futuristic installations and a packed programme of daily events.
South African travellers visiting Dubai must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate with a QR code issued within 48 hours of the time the sample was collected at an approved local health facility. Travellers to Dubai must also present a Rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure. Passengers arriving in Dubai will be required to take another COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International airport. All passengers transiting in Dubai must complete all the requirements of their final destination.
With South African Airways (SAA) resuming operations on 23rd September, Emirates is set to revive its strategic partnership and cooperation with the country’s flag carrier. The Emirates SAA partnership dates back to 1997 and is Emirates’ first ever codeshare agreement with another carrier. Prior to the pandemic, the partnership developed to include a complimentary joint network of 110 destinations, optimised schedules offering greater connectivity for customers, as well as baggage transfers and enhanced reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
Since the start of their strategic cooperation, close to 370,000 passengers have benefitted from the Emirates and SAA partnership. With customer convenience top of mind, plans are underway to expand the ability to book connecting flights on both carriers within one itinerary once again.
With the revival of the SAA partnership, Emirates is strengthening its footprint across South and southern Africa to four interline and codeshare partnerships, including Airlink, Cemair and FlySafair, boosting the airline’s route map with 79 additional codeshare and interline cities, offering its customers more flights, greater access to regional destinations, and a better experience when travelling.