Dubai — based Emirates Airline is set to increase its flight services to Abuja, Nigeria in its adjustments to its operational schedules in 2019 to meet the growing demand in African markets and minimise the impact of the closure of Dubai International Airport's (DXB) Southern Runway.
The runway will be closed for 45 days between 16 April to 30 May 2019 for an upgrade. The closure will reduce the hub airport's capacity diverting its general aviation operations to the alternative Dubai World Central (DWC). Traffic at DWC is hence expected to increase by 700 per cent.
Three additional flights will be operated every week on Emirates' Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to Abuja starting 01 June 2019 increasing the frequency to the Nigerian city to a daily service, bringing the airlines' daily frequencies in Nigeria to four.
The customary changes will enhance business between the two countries and an impact in the tourism sector. According to the company, the new service flight EK786 will depart Dubai every day at 10:40hrs and arrive Abuja at 14:55hrs. The return flight EK785 will leave Abuja same day at 18:10hrs.
The airline will also deploy additional flights to several markets in Africa starting in June 2019 offering customers even more seamless connections between these destinations and Emirates' global network through Dubai.
Commenting on the plans for African markets, Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said, "Starting from June 1st 2019, Emirates will introduce a second daily flight to Casablanca, Morocco; Conakry, Guinea; and Dakar, Senegal. Similarly, starting from June 2nd2019, a second daily flight will be introduced to Accra, Ghana."
Emirates' increased flights to serve the growing demand for flight services in Africa will see it stiffen competition with Africa's largest airline, the Ethiopian. The national carrier has achieved milestones in the aviation industry in Africa and has extended its reach beyond the continent.
African governments have been challenged to consider the aviation industry as a prime factor to drive economic growth and development for their economies.
The Jan-2018 launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) proved to be a step towards unlocking the potential in the industry to boost trade and bilateral ties for investment.