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Thu 26 Jun 2008 01:15 PM

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Emirates axes Durban flights over fuel price

Dubai airline cancels plans to launch direct flights to South African city as fuel costs bite.

Dubai-based airline Emirates has cancelled plans to launch direct flights to Durban, South Africa as rocketing fuel prices impact the carrier’s profit margins.

Emirates had intended to launch services to Durban in December, but plans have been deferred until further notice, UAE daily Emirates Business 24/7 reported on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the carrier said high fuel prices have forced the company to evaluate route operations to best utilise its aircraft fleet.

"Like other airlines, the high oil prices are making a dent in our profitability. We are monitoring the situation closely and trying our best to absorb the increased costs," the spokesperson told the newspaper.

Surging oil prices, up nearly 40 percent this year to a record near $140 a barrel, have hit the margins of airlines worldwide, and sparked the collapse of several budget carriers so far.

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