Emirates Sees High Demand for First Class in South Africa: Introducing Premium Economy Soon

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 21, 2024 19:00 PMNews
White emirates plane
White emirates plane. Source: unsplash

Emirates, the leading intercontinental carrier to South Africa, is experiencing high demand for first class travel to and from the Southern African nation. The airline is also planning to introduce premium economy soon as more aircraft are retrofitted.

Emirates remains one of the few airlines still offering first class flights globally. Over recent years, many airlines have shifted focus from first class to enhanced business class offerings. However, Emirates' first class product has seen significant demand in South Africa, especially post-pandemic. Emirates serves Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, with Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport being served by both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777, while Cape Town and Durban are served by the 777.

The airline offers 14 first class suites on the A380 and eight on the 777. According to Afzal Parambil, Emirates Regional Manager of Southern Africa, the airline's first class has always been highly sought after in South Africa, with demand increasing after COVID-19. Emirates provides consistent premium services across all three gateways, including chauffeur-drive service, lounge access, and consistent menus and amenities for first and business class passengers.

Emirates launched its premium economy class on the A380 in 2022, currently available on flights from Dubai to select destinations. Although not yet available in South Africa, the airline is retrofitting more aircraft to include premium economy seats and plans to introduce this class in South Africa soon. The premium economy cabin offers wider, more comfortable leather seats, extra legroom, and a deeper recline than standard economy class, along with enhanced menu options and in-flight entertainment.

Emirates has a long-standing relationship with South Africa, having launched flights to the country in June 1995. Today, it offers 42 weekly flights to South Africa, making it the top intercontinental carrier in the country. The airline operates three daily flights to Johannesburg, two daily to Cape Town, and a daily service to Durban. Since its launch, Emirates has carried over 20 million passengers to and from South Africa.

The airline's presence in South Africa is bolstered by codeshare and interline agreements with South African Airways, Airlink, FlySafair, and Cemair, enhancing connectivity within the region. Additionally, Emirates has partnered with various tourism organizations to promote South Africa as a destination, further cementing its strategic importance both as a source market and destination.

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