Saturday, July 7, 2012

► ZIMBABWE: Emirates to split Lusaka & Harare; introduces 5x weekly direct cargo flights to Harare.

Dubai megacarrier Emirates (EK) is to split its current Dubai - Lusaka (Zambia) - Harare (Zimbabwe) route into two separate routes "in the near future" following very strong figures in both passenger and cargo volumes moved since the route's inauguration in February of this year.

The route is presently served with an Airbus A330-200.

Emirates Inaugural Harare Airport Flight
Emirates Inaugural Harare Flight
In June, Emirates announced that starting 1 October 2012, it would increase its Dubai - Lusaka - Harare frequency from 5x weekly to daily, though with loads averaging roughly 80% on the flights, a dedicated direct service to each destination seems the most likely future outcome, along with a new cargo service operated by Emirates SkyCargo.

Emirates: Dubai - Lusaka, Zambia - Harare, Zimbabwe
From 5x weekly to daily effective 1 October 2012
  • EK713 DXB0925 – 1435LUN1620 – 1720HRE 1234567 A332
  • EK714 HRE1850 – 1950LUN2125 – 0640+1DXB 1234567 A332
Cargo, too, has proven to be very lucrative for the airline on the route with flowers and fruit & vegetables forming the bulk of goods for export to the UAE and beyond.
"SkyCargo Cargo Commercial Operations Regional Manager Mr Duncan Watson said freight business in Zimbabwe and Zambia had increased significantly in the first five months they had been servicing the routes.
“Although we started off slowly in Zimbabwe and Zambia, like in all new routes, we have, however, seen robust growth in the two countries.
“We have since started a freighter to Zambia and on July 13 we are going to launch a five times weekly freighter between Harare and Dubai via Johannesburg while linking it to the Western market,” he said.

Emirates' Africa Route Network
Emirates' Africa Route Network
Emirates has also approached both the Zambian and Zimbabwean Governments about becoming a possible partner to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Ordinary Sessions of the General Assembly to be held next year in Victoria Falls. Whether this is simply an excuse to start service to either Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls Airport (presently undergoing an upgrade) or Zambia's Livingstone International Airport, is unclear, though it seems a strong possibility given the tourist volumes at the Falls.

So, is this the beginning of a new push into Southern Africa for the airline? Of late, Emirates has been showing strong interest in the region with the airline also alluring to engaging both local and national airlines to service regional and domestic routes whilst in June, they signed a commercial cooperation agreement with Namibian carrier Air Namibia whom it will supply with two Airbus A330-200s as the latter seeks to renew its fleet.