Emirates Plans To Add More African Destinations

Increased business activity between Africa and Asia has helped Emirates become one of the largest airlines operating in Africa. The airline serves 27 destinations on the continent, and plans to add Bamako, the capital of Mali.

Emirates is benefiting from demand for business class seats for its African flights, a result of increased commercial activity particularly between Asia and Africa and plans to add 10 African destinations in 10 years.

Africa also accounts for about 10 percent of Emirates’ global passengers and revenue. The airline transported more than 5 million passengers to and from Africa on 21,000 flights in the year ending March 31, 2015.

Protectionism by some African governments has limited Emirates’ growth in Africa, Frach said.

“We are operating within existing agreements,” Emirates said. “There might be a situation or a market where we would like to do more because we see more demand. But for given reasons, because a traffic agreement is in place and it stipulates what is allowed, we do what we can.”

Emirates recently partnered with U.K.-based fastjet, a low-cost African airline group, allowing passengers of the Dubai carrier to buy tickets in East and Southern Africa.

There are several advantages for Emirates to have this kind of arrangement, according to Will Horton, an analyst with Centre for Aviation, in a report in TheNational.

“There is the opportunity to have a wide reach with one brand rather than have to sign and manage agreements with distinct carriers in each country,” Horton said. “There’s no need to look for a partner in Tanzania and another in Zimbabwe since fastjet has a base in both. As Fastjet grows with four more bases, the deal can be expanded. It has the potential to be very scaleable.”

 “If you go around all the (African) countries, there are loss-making state airlines, and the protectionism being exhibited by virtually all of these governments is doing nothing other than to reduce the level of air transport, kill competition and create a situation where they are going to continue subsidizing their own state airline,” Winter said.

For Emirates, airline protectionism isn’t limited to Africa. In Germany, Emirates is limited to landing at four airports.

And protectionism isn’t the only limiting factor for growth of foreign airlines in Africa, according to How we made it in Africa.

Due to inadequate airport infrastructure, many African airports can’t accommodate the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger liner. Emirates has 67 in its fleet.

Source: AFK Insider