Emirates has announced it will operate a direct flight to Dakar five times a week. The aircraft to be used on these flights is the Airbus A340-300, offering a three-class configuration of 12 first-class, 42 business and 213 economy class seats. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates said on Monday that it will launch direct flights to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, from September 1.

The West African nation will be Emirates' 106th international destination, and closely follows new route announcements to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague and Madrid, also launching in 2010. Dakar is the airline's third new African destination in less than 12 months, after Durban and Luanda joined the network in late 2009.

Emirates will fly to Dakar every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The service will be operated with an Airbus A340-300, offering a three-class configuration of 12 first class, 42 business and 213 economy class seats.


"This service will link Dakar to Emirates' network of over 100 international markets spanning six continents, facilitating the smooth transfer of business and leisure travellers as well as cargo. It is a significant next step in further strengthening ties between the United Arab Emirates and Senegal, as the two nations continue to collaborate on many significant projects," Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a press release yesterday.

Karim Wade, senior minister at the Ministry of International Cooperation, National Planning, Air Transport and Infrastructure in Senegal, said: "As the first direct service between Senegal and the UAE, this new route will deliver a significant boost to our nation's trade, commerce and tourism industries."

The announcement of the Senegal service comes as economic activity between the two nations continues to blossom.

Dubai's non-oil trade with Senegal has increased significantly in recent years — from $61.9 million (Dh227.17 million) per year in 2005 to $130.2 million per year in 2008 — an average annual growth of 28 per cent.

DP World was recently awarded the concession to develop and operate the existing container terminal at Dakar and invest in a new container terminal at the city's Port du Futur, while the Jebel Ali Free Zone is developing a special economic free zone connected to Senegal's new Blaise Diagne Airport, which is currently under construction.

Joint agreement

Last November, the Emirates Group announced a joint agreement with the government of Senegal to assist in the start-up and longer term future of Senegal Airlines.

The group will provide commercial support, technical expertise, training and aviation-related goods and services for the fledgling carrier, which is due to commence operations later this year.