Emirates Airlines seals the deal with government. (Photo Courtesy The Herald)

Emirates Airlines seals the deal with government. (Photo Courtesy The Herald)

Zimbabwe: Emirates Lands in Harare, Sees Bright Future
From The Herald
By Walter Muchinguri, 3 February 2012

EMIRATES Airlines, which started flying into Harare on Wednesday, could increase its flights into Harare from five to six days a week if the current load factor is maintained.

Emirates Airlines senior vice president commercial operations in Africa Mr Jean-Luc Grillet told journalists yesterday that they were encouraged by the load on their inaugural flight into Harare which was about 80 percent on their Airbus 330-200 which has a carrying capacity of 256 passengers.

“Normally the load factor on inaugural flights is about 40 to 50 percent and we are very happy that we were at 80 percent and we hope that if this is sustained we will be flying into Harare six days a week by October.

“In fact, we are optimistic that by October we will be having daily flights between Harare and Dubai,” he said.

The airline is flying in every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Mr Grillet said that they were optimistic about the potential for business in the country and were very keen to facilitate trade between Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are aware that you have a lot of traders in Zimbabwe and we are presenting them with a unique offer to expand their businesses with the rest of the world.

“We also hope to boost your tourism industry by bringing in more tourists into the country,” he said.

He added that they had already set up an office in the country that employs 20 people, mostly Zimbabweans.

“We will be offering a wide range of products that include ticket sales and processing of visas.

“As you are aware we did not have a consulate in the country but because we now have an office, processing of visas will now be done through that office,” he said.

Mr Grillet said that they were now working on advertising campaigns to market the Dubai-Harare via Lusaka route.

He added that their passengers could expect the highest quality of service on their planes, which include on-board entertainment with each seat, fitted with a screen.

Passengers can also e-mail and send SMS while on board as well as making use of their cellphones.

He said that passengers intending to proceed to other destinations from Dubai were guaranteed of efficient service as the airline has its own dedicated terminal, which guarantees smooth entry and exit from the UAE.

The airline’s regional manager-cargo commercial operations, Mr Duncan Watson, said they had a cargo capacity of 15 tonnes on their plane, which would be shared equally with Zambia.

“We want to open the world to Zimbabwe and introduce your fresh produce in all the markets that we fly to.

“While we have deliberately split the cargo capacity between Zimbabwe and Zambia to 7,5 tonnes each there will be variations depending on volumes that we will be getting from each country,” he said.

He said that their aim was to ensure that fresh produce and perishables from the country reach as many parts of the world as possible through their wide network of routes that they service.

He said that they had already started talking to some local farmers who are keen to come on board.