Emirates SkyCargo launched direct services to the South African port city of Durban on October 1st, marking the airline’s third destination in the country and 17th in Africa.

The inaugural flight, which departed Dubai International Airport at 10:25 a.m. and touched down at Durban International Airport at 5:10 p.m. local time, was carrying 14 tons of cargo in the belly of an Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft.

Peter Sedgley, Senior Vice President Cargo Commercial Operations, said ‘There is a variety of commodities moving out of Durban ’ car parts, pay channel decoders, electronic parking meters, aluminum, electronics, tools, perishables such as pineapples, and textiles ’ to markets as far as Europe, the Middle East, the US and Australia. Emirates has been serving South Africa for 14 years, and we are looking forward to expanding our services to and from Durban.’

In the 12-month period between August 2008 and July 2009, Emirates SkyCargo’s uplift of South African exports increased nearly four-fold over the previous 12 months. The growth can be attributed to the introduction of the Cape Town service in March 2008 and the addition of a third daily flight to Johannesburg. Further growth is expected with nearly 100 tons of additional capacity each week out of Durban, as Emirates SkyCargo had been previously serving the destination via road feeder services and by air through its codeshare partners from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Emirates SkyCargo has appointed a team with more than a half-century of combined experience in the Durban cargo industry. Led by Kum Naicker, Cargo Manager South Africa, the Emirates SkyCargo team in Durban comprises Cargo Manager Nathan Padayachy, Cargo Supervisor Jitesh Baichan, Senior Cargo Assistant Patrick Cele and Cargo Assistant Rajiv Sarjoo.

EK775 departs Dubai at 10:25 a.m., arriving at Durban International Airport at 5:10 p.m. EK 776 leaves Durban at 6:40 p.m. and gets into Dubai at 5.20 a.m. The flight time is around 8 hours 45 minutes.