Published On: December 2nd, 2020By Categories: Editor's Choice, Feature, New, News4 min read
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Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA: 2 December 2020 – Emirates is celebrating 25 years of serving South Africa, helping to connect passengers and business from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to the world. Since 1995, Emirates has proudly connected over 18 million travellers from South Africa to Dubai and its global network, firmly establishing the airline as a long-term partner of South African aviation, tourism, and trade.

The airline has progressively grown its operations in South Africa. Starting out with just 7 flights a day between Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, the airline’s services grew to 49 flights from of South Africa prior to the pandemic. Today, the airline operates 17 flights a week, and will continue to grow services in line with passenger demand and operational approvals.

The last year has been difficult for many people and industries, but Emirates has been working hard to safely rebuild its network while prioritising the safety of its customers, crew, and the communities it serves around the world. Over the course of the pandemic and while South African borders were closed, Emirates worked closely with the authorities and other government stakeholders to help bring South Africans back home to their families and loved ones. The airline operated over 35 repatriation flights between April and October, providing a much-needed lifeline to stranded passengers and families.

Since the beginning of October, with the UAE deemed safe for travel by the government, Emirates resumed flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, offering travellers safe, convenient, and comfortable connections via Dubai to close to 100 global destinations.

“We took off to the skies and arrived for the first time in South Africa 25 years ago, with the mission to connect South African travellers to the world, and provide experiences that were in tune with their needs, all while providing a superb value for money proposition. Celebrating this milestone comes during very challenging times, and we are honoured to serve South Africa and help bring families together, fly tourists to this beautiful country and showcase its attractions once again, and help support South Africa’s economic recovery,” said Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Africa.

“We are proud that we’ve been able to bolster the economy through our SkyCargo operations, and we plan to continue our commitment to servicing South Africans through safe, reliable air travel experiences and by supporting local partners and communities,” he continued.

Local Partnerships
Beyond prioritising the safety and well-being of its passengers, Emirates recently signed two interline agreements with Airlink and FlySafair. Both partnerships drive value for South African travellers by opening unique connections and onward travel options not offered by other airlines.

But partnerships are not only within the realm of the travel and tourism industry. The airline has nurtured long-standing relationships with winemakers in South Africa, including Ken Forrester, Porseleinberg, Klein Constantia, Waterkloof, Boekenhoutskloof, amongst others. In addition to this, passengers can look forward to dining on authentic, proudly South African dishes and flavours while travelling with Emirates with an array of local cheeses and Rooibos-inspireEmiratesd cuisine.

The Emirates Airline Foundation is also making a difference in local South African communities. The airline’s non-profit charity’s primary aim is to improve the quality of life for children. In South Africa, the foundation supports two charities. One of its long-standing beneficiaries includes Singakwenza.  Based in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, the charity aims to build sustainable early childhood education programmes in economically disadvantaged communities. The Fikelela Aids Project, another local charity supported by the Emirates Airline Foundation based in Cape Town, provides HIV prevention programmes in addition to offering support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Additionally, Emirates is the proud sponsor of the Emirates Lions, a rugby union team based in Gauteng. The airline also connects to golf fans in South Africa through its two sponsorships, the Nedbank Golf Challenge and SA Open.

Emirates SkyCargo has been supporting the South African economy by enabling exports to the rest of the world. Emirates freighters and passenger aircraft transport high-value cargo – including seafood, fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen meats, wine, pharmaceuticals, and gold – between the UAE and South Africa. Emirates SkyCargo has also been a pillar of strength to the South African community during the pandemic by transporting and delivering essential medical supplies and equipment. These much-needed deliveries were also distributed to other countries in need of support.

Health and Safety Measures
The airline is focused on rebuilding its global network to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months as more airports and cities reopen their borders. To ensure employee and customer care at every step of the travel journey, Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of safety and hygiene measures on board and on the ground. In addition, Emirates offers free global cover for COVID-19-related medical expenses, should a customer be diagnosed with the virus during their travel.

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