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Emirates SkyCargo launches African freight route

By control on November 23, 2011

To bolster trade links between the United Arab Emirates and West Africa, Emirates SkyCargo has commenced weekly service to Ghana. The Dubai-based carrier will fly a Boeing 747-400F capable of carrying 117 tonnes to Kotoka International Airport every Friday.

The aircraft will route through Lome, Togo, on the outbound flight and return to Dubai International Airport after stopping at Frankfurt Airport, an Emirates SkyCargo spokesman revealed. Commodities from Ghana will then be dispersed from Dubai to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.

This route will complement the carrier’s weekly Airbus A330-200 passenger service to Accra, which offers a belly-hold freight capacity of 120 tonnes. What’s more, Hiran Perera, Emirates’ senior vice president of cargo planning and freighters, said boosting capacity to Ghana was an easy decision.

“Ghana is booming at the moment — exporting items such as oil and gas equipment, pineapples, mangoes, a variety of vegetables, fresh fish and lobsters — so strengthening our commitment to West Africa with the introduction of this weekly freighter makes great business sense,” Perera said in a statement.

Routing the aircraft through Frankfurt is another prudent decision, company officials maintained. They expect these flights to be inundated with machinery, car parts and general merchandise.

The fact that Ghana is growing as a consumer market will also boost freight operations, industry insiders explained. Key items bound for the nation include pharmaceuticals from Europe, electrical equipment, and clothing and mobile phones manufactured in Asia.

Ghana isn’t the only destination Emirates SkyCargo officials have set their sights on, however. The carrier will commence service next year to Lusaka, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; Rio de Janeiro; Buenos Aires; Dublin; Dallas; and Seattle. The African and U.S. routes are of particular importance to the airline, Pradeep Kumar, Emirates’ senior vice president of cargo revenue optimization and systems, told Air Cargo World.

“West Asia/Asia-Pacific accounts for more than half of the cargo we carry, but we anticipate sustained growth throughout Africa and expect Lusaka and Harare to contribute,” Kumar said. “We also have further potential for growth in the U.S. with the addition of Dallas and Seattle to the network.”

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