Emirates Airline is placing a strategic focus on Africa in the coming decade by increasing operations by over 40 per cent, said Sir Tim Clark on Thursday speaking at the Africa Global Business Forum 2014.
Speaking at the conference around the theme of ‘Connectivity and Trade – Supporting Dubai as the Hub to Africa’, Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said, “Africa has been a great growth story for us. The Government of Dubai recognised the untapped potential of Africa early on and Emirates has been instrumental in supporting the region’s growth. Today, Emirates fleet investment in Africa tops $7 billion with operating costs of over $2 billion. We will add around 10 destinations in the next decade and will continue our investment and commitment to introduce more frequencies to our existing points to provide critical links to emerging markets from Asia, the Middle East and Australia.”
“Africa is still an underserved market and Emirates will continue to channel traffic through the Dubai hub, which has already become a key gateway for the African continent,” continued Clark.
Dubai’s geographical location makes it possible for African travellers to experience shorter travel times, which have been historically routed through European hubs like London, Paris and Frankfurt.
In the past five years, Emirates carried over 1.6 million passengers and 40,000 tons of cargo between Africa and China, underscoring the vital trade relationship that the continent has with the east. By 2020, Emirates expects to provide an additional 8.5 million seats to its African capacity.
There are over 500,000 African nationals that currently reside in Dubai. Over 800,000 African nationals visited Dubai last year alone and it is estimated that by 2020 tourism from Africa to Dubai will reach over 1.5 million visitors per year.
Emirates currently operates 22 passenger and six freighter destinations to Africa.