Simple Flying caught up with the Dubai-based carrier about the Cape Town route.

A6-EGH Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER)
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Last month, Emirates launched its second daily service to South Africa’s Cape Town International Airport. The move brought the UAE outfit’s South African service to pre-pandemic levels. Amid this initiative, Simple Flying spoke with Afzal Parambil, regional manager for Emirates, Southern Africa, to hear more about the route.

Doubling down

Emirates served Cape Town with double daily flights before the pandemic. As passenger volumes began increasing to and from the popular tourism destination, the carrier decided to reinstate the second daily service and restore its full schedule to meet this demand.

The operator highlights that this move reinforces its commitment to support tourism and bolster trade and business opportunities by providing passengers even more access to and from Cape Town from key source markets in Europe, the Middle East, West Asia, and Australasia.

The right support

The Boeing 777-300ER is the chosen vessel for the route. There are plenty of units to choose from. After all, Emirates holds a total of 124 777-300ERs. The airline also has 116 Airbus A380s and 10 passenger 777-200LRs in its fleet.

A6-ECK Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER)
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Still, it is Boeing’s -300ER that is the right fit for the Dubai-Cape Town operation. With a maximum range of 7,880 NM / 14,594 km and a cruising speed of Mach 0.84, the -300ER can seamlessly head to Cape Town from Dubai.

As Parambil explains:

“The 777-300ER is the backbone of our fleet and provides us with the agility, flexibility and right capacity to expand frequencies and further serve destinations like Cape Town. We will continue to utilize our Boeing 777, which is configured with eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class to ensure we are also catering to the consumer segments traveling to and from Cape Town.”

Wider opportunities

Altogether, Cape Town is a popular destination across Emirates’ global network, and the increase in capacity helps to meet the growing demand from premium leisure, large families, and groups. The markets with the most potential for Cape Town include various points in and out of Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

A6-EGH Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Emirates is nonetheless keeping a close eye on local developments. Notably, the South African market has been experiencing elevated inflation, rising interest rates, and a slowdown on the back of headwinds in the domestic and international economy. These factors impact the cost of business and could potentially dampen consumer confidence and travel spending.

Despite these challenges, South Africa offers a large market opportunity and is an important gateway for Emirates. The company has operated services to the country since 1995 and is keen to continue supporting its international tourism and trade flows. The rise in flights will undoubtedly help South Africa’s economic recovery through enhanced connectivity across Emirates’ gateways.

What are your thoughts about Emirates’ service to Cape Town? What do you make of the overall operations of the airline to the city? Let us know what you think of the prospects in the comment section.

  • Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate
    Emirates has been unable to fly to Nigeria, so local travelers have found other ways of getting to the UAE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Alvin Man – Simple Flying


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates


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