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Emirates to spread wings in 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Emirates Airline has unveiled plans to grow the number of flights across its network by 14 percent in 2009, increasing cargo capacity by 17 percent.

In the next 12 months, Emirates SkyCargo will take delivery of two new Boeing 777 freighters, with a maximum payload of 103 tonnes. In addition, 18 new wide-bodied passenger aircraft will be added to the Emirates fleet, enabling Emirates SkyCargo to increase frequencies and capacity on many existing routes.

Releasing the plan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President for Cargo Ram Menen noted on Thursday that the last two years had not been easy for the air cargo industry, but that some stability would return in the coming months.

“We will bolster our presence in markets where we have a greater demand from our customers, such as China and Africa. For Emirates SkyCargo, 2009 will be a year of consolidation,” he said.

Emirates SkyCargo recently commenced a weekly Boeing 747-400 freighter flight to Lagos. A second daily passenger service to the Nigerian capital, with 18 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity, was started on February 1.

The company further plans to introduce services from Dubai to Durban, South Africa on October 1, 2009. The route will be served by an Airbus A330-200, which can carry up to 14 tonnes of cargo.

In recent months, Emirates SkyCargo has increased capacity from its Dubai hub to India to more than 2,500 tonnes a week. As new aircraft come online, the weekly cargo capacity will increase to the tune of approximately 15 percent to Africa; 17 percent to the Middle East; 10 percent to Europe; four percent to Australia; while capacity into the US will grow eight percent when the thrice weekly services to Los Angeles and San Francisco start daily from May.

In total, the additional capacity will see more than 700 tonnes of cargo capacity added to the Emirates fleet.

Emirates SkyCargo directly serves 101 cities in 61 countries on six continents.

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