SA would lose more than 140,000 inbound foreign tourists if Emirates Airline were to halt flights to the country, according to an economic impact study prepared by Genesis Analytics for the airline.
This would amount to a R2.3bn loss to SA’s economy because the airline provides "80 unique one-stop connections" to SA, it found.
Emirates is the biggest foreign carrier operating in SA by number of seats. Its 49 flights a week provide 20,803 seats. It commissioned the study after being embroiled in a dispute with the Department of Transport, which in 2014 tried to prevent the airline from adding a fourth daily flight between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi.