United Arab Emirates — EMIRATES Airlines is set to launch a five-times-a-week cargo flight direct to Harare on June 13 as the recently launched Harare-Lusaka-Dubai route proves to be viable for the airline.
The airline has also announced that it would de-link the Harare-Lusaka-Dubai route to service the cities separately in the near future.
Officials at the Emirates Group Headquarters here said plans are also afoot for the engagement of local national airlines to service regional and domestic routes.
Emirates Senior vice president Commercial Operations Africa Mr Jean-Luc Grillet told journalists attending the Pan African Familiarisation tour that Emirates expects to break even within a few months of introducing daily flights on the Harare-Lusaka-Dubai route.
Emirates, currently running five flights to Harare and Lusaka every week will on October 1 introduce daily flights on the route.
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 in Zambia and on July 13 we are going to launch a five times a week freighter between Harare and Dubai while linking it to the Western market," he said.
The freighter between Harare and Dubai would go through Johannesburg. Mr Watson said tonnage between Harare and Lusaka had increased to 100 000 tonnes of cargo during the first five months of operations.
He said most of the cargo was agriculture produce including fruits, fresh flowers and vegetables.
Mr Grillet said: "Since the launch of the Dubai-Lusaka-Harare we have seen constant growth in the number of passengers using our airline with approximately 80 percent load factor since the inaugural flight to the two cities.
Mr Grillet paid tribute to the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments for facilitating their entry in to both countries.