Emirates Plans South Africa Route Revival

The Dubai-based Emirates Airline has today announced the addition of five routes to its network. This brings its total number of destinations to 92. Three of the five routes connect the UAE to South Africa; the remaining two will operate to Zimbabwe and Mauritius. All five flights will commence in the first week of October. We’ve got all the details.

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Emirates is set to add five more routes to its schedule in the first week of October. Photo: Getty Images

New schedules

Emirates is taking another step to reopen its network and get planes back in the sky. Today, the airline announced it would add five routes to its schedule from October. Flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town will resume from October 1st with flights to Durban resuming a few days later on October 4th.

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Outside of the South African routes, Emirates will also launch flights to Harare in Zimbabwe from October 1st and to the island of Mauritius from October 3rd. The flights to Harare will be linked to Emirates’ service to Lusaka in Zambia twice a week. The connected flights will offer the African nations a great connection to Europe, West Asia, and America with a stopover in Dubai.

To begin with, the flight to Mauritius will only operate once a week on Saturdays. The fights will also be used to help support the Mauritius government’s repatriation efforts and encourage tourism, a primary revenue stream for the island nation.

Emirates has not yet revealed the detailed flight schedule for its flights to South African but has confirmed that schedules and tickets will be available from later this week on its website.

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Although the UAE reopened to tourists in July, travelers must present a negative COVID test upon arrival. Photo: Dubai Airports

Reopening borders

Emirates has been relatively cautious when it comes to resuming flights considering the UAE opened its borders to tourists in early July. Anyone over the age of 12 must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test on arrival, but other than that, the UAE is open. But it’s only in the past few weeks that Emirates has really ramped up its network offerings. This signals that other places are getting ready to reopen their borders too.

Early in September, Emirates announced it would add Moscow and Casablanca back to its regular schedule from mid-month. At the start of September, flights to Conakry in Guinea and Dakar in Senegal resumed, as did flights to Bangkok, Nigeria, and Jordan. Emirates list of 92 current destinations is impressive, given travel restrictions are still in place around the world.

Emirates hopes to operate flights to 100% of the destinations it offered last year by summer 2021. Photo: Emirates News Room

2021 recovery

Emirates appears to be working to a more optimistic timescale that others in the aviation industry. While many say that recovery will take several years, Emirates plans to operate flights to 100% of the destinations it served pre-crisis by next summer. Only time will tell if the planes are as full as they were before. However, Emirates is clearly hoping there is enough demand to get most planes back in the sky by summer 2021. There might even be some new additions with a route to Israel a strong potential.

Despite the positive outlook, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. The airline recently admitted it wouldn’t be flying its grounded Airbus A380s on routes to the US over winter. A Boeing 777 is more likely to operate the routes as it slashed schedules due to low demand. Additionally, the airline warned UK staff that there might be workforce cuts as the airline adjusts to a slightly smaller operation.

What do you think of Emirates’ growing schedule? Is summer 2021 a realistic target? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.