Cape Town – National airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Etihad Airways will increase flights to Africa’s largest economies, Egypt and Nigeria to meet the growing surge in demand, come 01 October.
The airline made the announcement on Wednesday, 12 July bringing the number up to 35 flights per week from its current 28. A new mid-morning departure from Abu Dhabi and an afternoon service will provide additional options between the two cities.
“Cairo is the largest point-to-point market from Abu Dhabi enjoying an increase in tourist traffic to Egypt,” says Mohammed Al Bulooki, the executive vice president of commercial for Etihad. “Our additional flights demonstrate the importance of the strong historic ties between the UAE and Egypt, and our continued support of the growth of bilateral trade and Egypt’s tourism industry.”
According to the airline, the trade between the countries totalled up to US$400 million (about R5 bn at R13.19/$) last year while tourism from the UAE to Egypt is expected to increase by 20 percent in 2018.
Added to this, an estimated of 400,000 Egyptians live in the UAE. The World Bank put remittances to Egypt from the UAE at $1.83 billion (about R24 125 bn at R13.19/$) in 2015.
The airline says it will begin adding the additional routes before the actual launch date.
Etihad will also expand its service offering to Nigeria, adding a weekend flight to the country in December, which will increase the frequency of services to five per week.
According to Etihad, the demand for this comes from India’s cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, as well as Malaysian capital Kuala Lampur.
“Lagos is one of our largest direct markets in sub-Saharan Africa that is showing signs of strength as Nigeria recovers from recession,” says Bulooki. “Against this backdrop, our additional flights will help facilitate the growth.”
Nigeria’s GDP growth rate is expected to more than double to 1.9 percent next year as a result of manufacturing, financial and IT expansions.
Cairo schedule from 1 October 2017
+1 denotes next day
* new Cairo flights
Lagos schedule from 2 December 2017:
Note: All departures and arrivals are listed in local time.
*New Saturday flight