Emirates reinforced its commitment to support the growing trade and tourism relationship between Dubai and South Africa by landing its first scheduled A380 service at O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The 489-seat superjumbo was welcomed by a traditional water cannon salute as South Africa became the 16th destination in Emirates’ global network to be served by the environmentally advanced aircraft.
Emirates is proud to announce the arrival of the A380 in Johannesburg, its first destination in Africa. Our expansion into Africa demonstrates our commitment to support emerging economies, and this is further supported by the announcement of the 20th and 21st African destinations to Harare and Lusaka," said Jean-Luc Grillet, Emirates’ senior vice-president for commercial operations in Africa.
We foresee that the increased capacity offered by the A380 will support an already thriving trade relationship between South Africa and the UAE, worth around $1.8 billion a year.”
Vuwani Ndwamato, director: air transport in the South African Department of Transport said: "Our world-class infrastructure investment in O R Tambo International Airport is integral to the continued economic growth of Johannesburg, the main passenger and freight gateway into Africa. The introduction of the Emirates A380 underlines Johannesburg's efforts to build a world-class city and stimulate investment to position South Africa as a major player in the global economy."
Fouad Caunhye, Emirates’ regional manager for South Africa, said: “The touchdown of our A380 demonstrates Emirates’ commitment to serving the South African market and we anticipate very strong demand from leisure and business travellers, both in South Africa and the rest of the continent, keen to experience its unique features and unparalleled levels of comfort.”
The 489-seat A380 is one of a kind, known for its benefits to the environment as much as its state-of-the-art on-board facilities and technological advancements. The aircraft burns up to 20% less fuel per seat than other large, modern aircraft.
The aircraft has:
14 flat-bed private suites
An on-board lounge, featuring a bar and a selection of hot and cold canapes where First and Business Class passengers can unwind
Seats in Business Class which convert to flat beds up to two metres in length
Those travelling in Economy Class can stretch out in seats with a pitch of up to 33 inches
Passengers in all classes can enjoy Emirates’ ICE (information, communication, entertainment) digital widescreen inflight entertainment system, which features over 1 200 channels of on-demand entertainment including Chinese movies, music and hundreds of Hollywood films
The A380 service will operate daily as EK 761, departing Dubai at 0440hrs (local time) and arriving at OR Tambo International Airport at 1050hrs (local). The return flight, EK762, departs Johannesburg at 1410hrs (local) and arrives in Dubai at 0010hrs (local) the following day.
With its 489 passenger capacity and daily flights in and out of Johannesburg, the Emirates A380 is set to revolutionise how South Africans view air travel and service and will make a marked and positive impact on Emirates’ capacity to serve the South African market,” said Caunhye.