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Emirates launches Lusaka office
|16 January 2013, 1:29:19|
Addressing the media, Grillet announced that since the launch of the Emirates into Zambia February 1st, business has been ‘so successful’ that the airline would embark from five to daily flights as of October 1st. |
‘We have carried more than 43,000 passengers on the route from Kenya between Harare, Lusaka and Dubai and this office is a testimony of our long-term commitment in Zambia.
‘When we opened here we were not very much considering the competition, we are pretty much looking at the development we could bring in this market.
'We are taking from the local market flights at only 40 percent full and 60 percent filled flights are coming into Zambia. Definitely we’re bringing more passengers in than we are taking out of the country. As such we are creating wealth, the passengers we are bringing are spending their money in the country. We have created jobs in Zambia for our own team, as well as, indirect jobs, at the airport, in transport, in infrastructure and by serving the people who are coming.’
Grillet said Emirate’s operations in Zambia could serve to bring greater connectivity locally and within the region to other destinations. He said airports needed to harmonise air traffic while at the same time coordinate the transit visas better where required. He said most airports in Africa lacked transit areas while others were very underdeveloped.
‘There are some destinations in and outside the country which are not served properly, or are not offering enough volume to justify an airline like ours flying there, as we only have large aircrafts.
‘One of the things we would love very much to see that is not specific to Zambia but to many places in Africa, would be more facility for transit passengers at the airport streamlined, allowing them to transit from one airline to another seamlessly.
'For example, we are pretty much interested to have our regional carrier flying from Zambia into Gaborone and to connect with our flights. For that, we need to have an easy flow of traffic through the airport.'
Grillet said the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport could serve as a hub in the region for smaller destination such as Ndola, Livingstone, Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Gaborone.
‘We need the WEC to improve the transit facility within the airport. And we have talked about this to both the minister of Tourism and the minister of Transport, as well as the civil aviation. They have been very positive to listen to what we have said.’
Besides developing transit facilities Grillet said African countries must look at investing in airport infrastructure which was being outpaced by economic growth. He said the current airport in Zambia like most African countries could not facilitate its A380 aeroplane which carried over 500 passengers. He urged governments to invest adequately in airport infrastructure as it was the only other viable mode of transport besides the growing road infrastructure. He said unlike Europe where you could travel easily by car, train and sea all across the continent, Africa had a long way to go to achieve interlinking transportation.
Grillet said the development of tourism is part of the social development of a country. He said through their subsidiary Emirates Holidays, they have programs dedicated to promoting Zambia and in particular the Victoria Falls through its network of 128 countries, spread across six continents.
However, he urged government to facilitate tourist coming from UAE to Zambia as the country does not have an embassy in the UAE to grant visas.
‘We talked about this to the minister of Tourism, the minister of Interior (Home Affairs) and the Immigration department. We said, this kind of country should have the possibility to have visas upon arrival if you want to develop this kind of tourism. And this is tourism with good money to spend in the country. We need to facilitate people to come in.’
Grillet paid tribute to Zambia’s economic growth and its expected 2012 GDP growth of 6.7 percent.
‘Really it is fantastic. The growth of the GDP all across Africa is huge. It is pretty much part of the success.’
Grillet said the emphasis of the use of the kwacha did not in anyway impact their business operations in the tourist sector.
‘In all countries where we are operating we respect the decision of the government. Its part of the local day decision of the local authority to use the kwacha locally. For us it’s not an issue, we stick to the law of all the countries where we operate in strictly. We respect the decision of the authority.'
The Emirates’ new offices located in the business center at Arcades exude a chic luxurious environment with an ultra spacious high tech workplace that is both welcoming and comfortable. The office’s only noticeable disadvantage sitting on the second floor is the flight of stairs that will be an obstacle for Emirates’ disabled, blind and elderly customers.
Emirates is 100% owned by the government of Dubai through its commercial investment arm, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). The Emirates is required to be self-sustainable and profitable.
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