Emirates, the world’s largest international airline and South African Airways (SAA), the South African flag carrier, are expanding their strategic cooperation with enhancements to its codeshare agreement, opening up new destinations for both Emirates and SAA customers.
Pending governmental approval, SAA and Emirates have signed an enhanced commercial partnership which will see the relationship between the two carriers grow and strengthen their already successful codeshare agreement signed in 1997, across a wide spectrum of commercial and customer touch points.
In 2017/18, the codeshare agreement between Emirates and SAA saw approximately 90,000 passengers benefit from seamless travel and greater connectivity, in this year alone. Emirates launched operations to South Africa in 1995 with flights between Dubai and Johannesburg. The relationship between SAA and Emirates spans over 20 years dating back to June 1997 with the signing of Emirates’ first ever codeshare agreement, whereby the SAA code started to appear on flights operated by Emirates to Dubai.
SAA is able to offer its customers seats on the eight daily flights operated by Emirates between South Africa and Dubai (four daily flights from Johannesburg including its iconic A380 aircraft, three daily flights from Cape Town and one daily flight from Durban).
The enhanced agreement means the codeshare will be expanded across both carriers’ networks.
The two airlines will work towards bringing more synergies in their respective route network, customer touch points, cargo services and flight schedules to enable seamless connectivity and enhance passenger flows. Connectivity will be improved by adjusting connecting times through Johannesburg, with a special focus on popular regional markets.
Included in the new agreement are plans to enhance the frequent flyer programmes, Emirates’ Skywards and Voyager by SAA. Emirates became a Voyager airline partner in 2000, which means Voyager members are able to earn and redeem Miles on flights operated by Emirates; and similarly, Skywards members are able to earn and redeem Miles on SAA-operated flights.
The airlines will separately work on other areas of bilateral cooperation and an exchange of best practices across multiple airline functions.
Emirates in South Africa
Emirates launched services in South Africa in 1995 with flights to Johannesburg, and has since grown its footprint in the country to Cape Town and Durban. Emirates operates eight daily flights to South Africa (four to Johannesburg, three to Cape Town and one to Durban) including its iconic A380 to Johannesburg.
A 2016 study quantifying Emirates’ impact on the South African economy showed the Emirates Group’s total economic contribution amounted to US$417 million/ZAR 5.81 billion, supporting 12,989 jobs in FY 2014/15. Emirates has since grown its seat capacity to South Africa from 2,572 to 3,101 daily seats, increasing Emirates’ impact on the economy and employment further.
Emirates carries business and leisure travellers from around the world to ‘destination South Africa’ via its Dubai hub. In FY 2017/18, Emirates carried over 1.7 million passengers to and from its three points in South Africa, and over 61,800 tonnes of high value cargo – including seafood, fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen meats, wine, pharmaceuticals and gold. Over 1,000 South African nationals are employed by the Emirates Group, including over 250 pilots and 500 cabin crew.
In other news, Emirates has announced it will introduce a daily Airbus A380 service for a temporary period between Glasgow and Dubai from April 16, 2019. It will be the first time the popular double decker aircraft will operate on a scheduled basis to Scotland.
The larger capacity A380 will replace Emirates’ current twice daily Boeing 777 service between Glasgow and Dubai from April 16 until May 31, 2019, during which time Dubai Airports plan to close Dubai International’s (DXB) southern runway for upgrade works, and the single runway operations require airlines to reduce and adjust their operating schedules. The deployment of the A380 is to minimise the reduction of Emirates’ capacity from Glasgow to Dubai and beyond during this period.
The A380 flight will depart Dubai at 1450 hrs and arrive in Glasgow at 1945 hrs, while the return flight will leave Glasgow at 2130 hrs and land in Dubai at 0755 hrs the next morning.
From June 1 until September 30, 2019, the double daily service will be reinstated on the route, with the A380 operating on the first flight of the day, and a Boeing 777 on the second, increasing capacity on the route during this period to meet seasonal summer demand.
Thereafter, the service will revert back to a twice daily Boeing 777 operation. Launched in October this year, Emirates also offers a daily service to Edinburgh, bringing to three the number of daily flights between Scotland and Dubai.
The Emirates A380 will have a three class cabin configuration, offering 14 private suites in First Class, 76 lie flat seats in Business Class, and 399 spacious seats in Economy Class. Customers travelling to and from Glasgow on the A380 can look forward to more space across all classes, while enjoying Emirates’ famed hospitality and service from its multi-national cabin crew, award winning entertainment system, ice, with over 3500 channels of on demand audio and visual entertainment, Wi-Fi and complimentary meals and beverages.
First Class customers will have exclusive access to an on-board shower spa, while First and Business Class customers will enjoy the on-board lounge, where they can socialise with other travellers. As with all Emirates’ flights, customers get a generous baggage allowance, with 50kg for First Class, 40kg for Business Class and up to 35kg for Economy Class passengers.
Emirates first operated the A380 to Glasgow as a one off in April 2014, when the airline celebrated 10 years of successful operations to the city. This year also marks the 10th year of Emirates’ A380 operations. With an A380 fleet of 108, and with 54 additional aircraft on order, Emirates is the largest operator of A380s in the world.
Finally, Emirates, the main sponsor of Spanish football club, Real Madrid, has unveiled a new decal featuring action images of some of the club’s top players on one of its Airbus A380 aircraft.
The new decal was created to mark the occasion of Real Madrid’s charter flight on an Emirates A380 from Madrid to Abu Dhabi today, where the team in their capacity as current European champions will compete with football club champions from other continents.
The bespoke decal features first team players Marcelo, Luka Modrić, Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, and covers over 200 square metres on each side of the double decker aircraft. A time lapse video of the decal being placed onto the A380 can be viewed here.
Decals featuring Real Madrid players first appeared on an Emirates A380 in 2015, and has since become an eye-catching representation of the airline’s association with the club. Emirates has been the Official Main Sponsor of Real Madrid since 2013 with Fly Emirates branding prominently displayed on the players’ kits.
The decal will remain on the aircraft for six months and fans can catch the aircraft as it traverses the globe with scheduled services planned to Washington, Nice, Mauritius, London Gatwick and Sao Paulo.
Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the double-decker A380 aircraft, with 108 in service, and another 54 pending delivery. The aircraft is deployed to about 50 destinations across six continents around Emirates global network. Customers travelling to and from Spain, have the opportunity to experience the Emirates A380 on one of the double daily services to both Madrid and Barcelona.
All photos by Emirates.