MEC Sihle Zikalala on direct flights between King Shaka International and the United Kingdom

KwaZulu-Natal eyeing direct flights between King Shaka International and the United Kingdom

The MEC for EDTEA, Mr Sihle Zikalala, is optimistic that the province of KwaZulu-Natal will finally achieve what has, so far, been an elusive objective of a UK – Durban direct flight.

This follows a meeting between Zikalala and a high powered delegation led by British Airways Director of network planning and alliances, Mr. Sean Doyle, to motivate for direct air services between Durban and London.

We had a very productive meeting with British Airways. They see huge potential in the Durban-London route and we are extremely optimistic that our engagements will bear fruits. For a number of years now, KwaZulu-Natal has been working on securing air services between Durban and the United Kingdom and we are happy that British Airways has finally given us the opportunity to engage them on the viability and potential of the route, Zikalala added.

Approximately 100,000 passengers currently fly indirectly between Durban and London via Johannesburg or other hubs such as Dubai. The proposed new route, Zikalala said, would drastically reduce their travel times and costs. From an economic standpoint, this route also augurs well for improved trade relations as the United Kingdom is currently South Africa’s second largest export trade partner in Europe.

South African exports to the UK make up 4.5% of the country’s total exports.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Doyle said British Airways was busy evaluating its routes throughout the world, adding that the Durban route was one of the routes they viewed as having huge potential. Following this engagement, British Airways will engage in its own internal evaluation and due diligence processes including the briefing of the British Airways Board of the potential of the UK-Durban route.

Highlighting one of KZN’s selling points, Zikalala added that international cargo through Dube Cargo Terminal had experienced continuous year-on-year growth of 138% since 2010.

The introduction of new passenger flights to Durban saw a growth of 25% in cargo volumes, as well as an increased frequency of chartered aircraft. In th2017/2018 financial year we expect a 12% growth in cargo.

Source: Government of South Africa