Durban courts Indian, UK carriers for direct flights

More international airlines are considering launching direct flights out of Durban.

In October last year, Norwegian said it would be launching flights from Copenhagen to Cape Town and Durban as well as flights from London Gatwick to Cape Town (see TNW October 28, 2015).

“With plans for continued UK growth, Norwegian has now secured a UK Air Operating Certificate which will help open up access to bilateral traffic rights to a range of new routes including South America, Africa and Asia. Detailed planning for Norwegian UK is now under way but at this early stage, no decisions about specific new routes have been made as yet,” said a spokesperson for Norwegian.

An industry authority told Tourism Update that Jet Airways was considering flying from India to Durban, but a representative from Jet Airways told Tourism Update: “At this moment we have no plans to fly to Durban.”

Two airlines in India and two in the UK are in talks to launch direct flights to Durban, according to Dube Tradeport Air Services Specialist, Keith Green. Dube Tradeport is responsible for driving route development for Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

Keith told Tourism Update that while conversations were “looking positive at this point” he could not mention which airlines had been approached.

“We have been trying to attract a direct London service for a while now and we are speaking to two carriers in that regard. Similarly, travellers are struggling to find convenient connections to India from Durban since SAA’s discontinuation of flights to Mumbai from Johannesburg, so we are in conversations with two airlines on a potential direct Durban-India route,” says Green.

ANC MEC for economic development and chairperson of the ANC in KZN, Sihle Zikalala told Tourism Update talks were being held with airlines in Angola and Namibia to launch direct flights to Durban.

Since Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Proflight Zambia and Turkish Airlines launched direct flights to and from the city, international passenger numbers at King Shaka International Airport had grown significantly, said Green.

In March this year, international passenger numbers grew by 23% compared with March 2015. April 2016 saw growth of 25% compared with April 2015 and in May, passenger numbers grew by 30% compared with May 2015.

Source: TU