KZN could soon see its dreams of a non-stop flight between Durban and London become a reality after the province’s recent positive talks with British Airways (BA).
Following a meeting with BA Director of Network Planning and Alliances Sean Doyle, KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, is optimistic that the proposed new route will go ahead.
‘We had a very productive meeting with British Airways,’ said Zikalala.
‘They see huge potential in the Durban-London route and we are extremely optimistic that our engagements will bear fruit.
‘For a number of years now KZN 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 with them on the viability and potential of the route.’
About 100 000 passengers currently fly indirectly between Durban and London via Johannesburg or other hubs, including Dubai.
Zikalala said the proposed new route would drastically reduce passengers’ travel times and costs.
‘From an economic view, this route also augurs well for improved trade relations as the UK is currently South Africa’s second largest trade partner in Europe.’
South African exports to the UK make up 4.5% of the country’s total exports.
Doyle said BA was busy evaluating its routes throughout the world and added that the Durban route was one they viewed as having potential.
Following this engagement, BA will engage in its own internal evaluation and due diligence processes, including the briefing of the BA Board of the potential of the London-Durban route.
Highlighting one of KZN’s selling points, Zikalala said that international cargo through Durban’s 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 the 2017/18 financial year we expect a 12% growth in cargo.’
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