BT 2018 Awards Winner: Emirates


Emirates was once again the biggest winner in the annual Business Traveller Africa Awards, claiming three awards for its performance as an airline flying into South Africa, its business class product, and its lounge in the international departures terminal at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Like many international airlines, it’s been a tough year for Emirates, which in November posted an 86% drop in half-year profits.

“The high fuel cost as well as currency devaluations in markets like India, Brazil, Angola and Iran wiped approximately $1.25bn from our profits,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chair & CEO of Emirates Group.

Emirates, one of the world’s biggest airlines, which flies to more than 150 destinations, said fuel costs rose 42% compared with the same period last year.

In the six months to 30 September, the airline carried 30.1-million passengers, a rise of 3% on the last financial year, the company said.

Emirates’ revenues were 10% higher than the previous year at $13.3bn.

“We are proactively managing the myriad challenges faced by the airline and travel industry, including the relentless downward pressure on yields and uncertain economic and political realities in our region and in other parts of the world,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Emirates in 2018.

The year saw the Middle Eastern airline start its second Airbus A380 service between Dubai and Johannesburg. From now on, two of the four daily Emirates services between the two cities are being operated by A380s. The remaining two daily flights continue to be served by Boeing 777- 300ER aircraft.

According to Emirates, a 14% increase in seat capacity will be a direct result of deployment of the second Airbus A380 to Johannesburg. Emirates’ A380 planes feature a total of 519 seats in a three-class configuration.

All four daily Emirates flights between Johannesburg and Dubai operate as codeshare flights with partner South African Airways.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of Airbus A380s, with 107 of the aircraft currently in service. Its 108th Superjumbo was delivered to Emirates in early December. The airline has 54 more A380s on order.

The deployment of the double-decker aircraft on routes to and from South Africa gives even more regional travellers the chance to experience the aircraft’s industry-leading comforts. These include private suites and shower spas in its first class cabin, while business class customers can enjoy the popular onboard lounge and lie-flat beds.

Emirates has a long-standing relationship with South Africa in multiple capacities. The African nation ranks among the top five countries for Emirates pilots, and there are over 500 South Africans working as cabin crew on the airline’s flights, extending the nation’s famous hospitality to customers worldwide.

Emirates is ranked the fourth most valuable airline brand worldwide, according to Brand Finance, behind the US trio of American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, which are also the only airlines to rank higher in terms of passenger miles flown.

As one of three awards claimed in the 2018 Business Traveller Africa Awards, Emirates once again scooped the prize for the best business class, as voted for by South Africa’s corporate travellers and business travel trade.

With Emirates adding a second Airbus A380 service between Dubai and Johannesburg, even more South African travellers will get to experience the added comfort offered by this aircraft.


Emirates A380 business class offers the finest in luxury air travel on selected services, including the Johannesburg route.

As a customer in an Emirates premium cabin, the journey begins with the chauffeur service and continues with fast-track through security, lounge access and priority boarding.

In Emirates A380 business class you’ll discover your seat is a flat bed with inbuilt massage function. It’s extremely spacious and comfortable with your own soft drink and snack selection. You’ll have a massive television screen and the award-winning ICE system (Information, Communication & Entertainment) with up to 1,400 channels full of the latest films, television, music, news and even live sporting events. You can browse the entertainment options and build a playlist of everything you plan to watch and listen to during your flight. There’s also easy connection for phone and email.

The cuisine on board is a genuine, fine-dining experience. Meals are served on demand and you can choose from a huge selection of foods, accompanied by the finest wines in the sky. During the flight you can also use the inflight lounge/bar area, which is a great excuse to stretch those legs mid-flight.


The remaining two daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg continue to be served by Boeing 777- 300ER aircraft, and this is what South African travellers can expect, along with the standard chauffeur service, lounge access and priority boarding.

Boeing 777-300ER business class seats are now wider and more spacious, with an ergonomic headrest and stylish grey leather finish. The sleek new design offers enhanced support and extra comfort throughout your journey.

Select a movie on your personal 23-inch entertainment screen with the touchscreen controller, and sip a refreshing beverage from the in-seat mini-bar. There’s even a HDMI port to stream content from your personal devices directly onto your screen. When it’s time to rest, use the touchscreen controller to ease your seat into the fully flat position and drift off to sleep.

The redesigned 777 business class seat lies completely flat on the soft leather fabric, and you can enjoy gourmet meals as you watch your favourite boxset on the 23-inch HD TV.


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