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Emirates strengthens global network

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 13 – One of the world’s fastest-growing airlines eyes Africa, Asia and Europe as it charts out the 2010 growth strategy.

Emirates Airline is undertaking a significant route expansion in Africa, Asia, and Europe as it lays growth strategies for the 2010.  Starting March the airline will be introduce new routes including Tokyo, Darker, Prague and Madrid, and at the same time introduce additional flights on its existing routes like Beijing.

Starting 1st September 2010, Emirates will fly to Dakar five times a week from Nairobi through its Dubai hub. The service will be operated by an Airbus A340-300 aircraft, offering a three-class configuration of 12 First Class, 42 Business and 213 Economy Class seats.

Emirates Regional Manager for East Africa Essa Sulaiman Ahmad said: “We are delighted to announce Dakar as our nineteenth destination into Africa. This new route further underlines Emirates’ commitment to Africa, as the airline seeks to continuously strengthen its services across the continent, one of our growth focus in the coming years.”

“This service will help link up Dakar and Nairobi and open up trade opportunities, facilitating the smooth transfer of business and leisure travellers as well as cargo between Kenya and Senegal.”

The West African nation will be Emirates’ 106th international destination. Dakar is the Emirates’ third new African destination in less than 12 months, after Durban and Luanda joined the network in late 2009.

Eying Asia

Tokyo is the first of a number of route launches in 2010 for Emirates. Tokyo’s 28th March launch will be followed by the start of services to Amsterdam on 1st May, Prague on 1st July and the Spanish city of Madrid on 1st August.

The introduction of the Tokyo route by Emirates Airline is likely to boost trade between Kenya and Japan, which is heavily tilted in favour of the latter. To date, there are no direct flights to Japan, which also impedes the traffic of cargo.

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The horticulture and tourism sectors are also poised to benefit greatly from the move. Japan’s imports of cut flowers from Kenya are increasing rapidly, with some estimated 20,000 Japanese visiting Kenya annually.

Meanwhile, the world’s most populous country, China, will receive the aviation world’s largest commercial aircraft with the start of Emirates A380 Dubai-Beijing-Dubai services on 1st August 2010. The new service follows an impressive series of A380-firsts to New Zealand, Thailand and Korea by the Dubai-based airline.

The introduction of the addition capacity comes as good news to the trade between Kenya and by extension Africa and China. According to the Economic Survey 2009 Kenya exported goods worth Ksh2 billion to mainland China in 2008 compared with imports worth Ksh63 billion.

Today, China ranks as Africa’s second-largest trading partner with trade crossing US$100 billion. Equally, Africa is China\’s second largest engineering contracting market and deals for contract projects exceed US$126.3 billion. 

“Trade between Kenya and China is on a steady rise. Also, Kenya is likely to record a  surge in incoming Chinese leisure groups after the Chinese government granted it ‘Approved Destination Status’ last year. Our A380 will support the growing demand for air travel to and from China through capacity enhancements of almost 50%,” said Mr. Ahmad.

The A380 is the world\’s most environmentally-advanced aircraft with significant reductions in noise, emissions and fuel burn vis-à-vis other comparable aircraft.

Currently Emirates operates double-daily services each to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and daily services to Guangzhou. 

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