SAA today re-introduced a three-times daily return service from Johannesburg to Durban with the first flight leaving early this morning.
The flight was warmly welcomed at King Shaka International Airport with a special water cannon salute and resounding applause from passengers and airport staff. The new route is a significant milestone for SAA since resuming operations five months ago. This is the second local destination SAA is now flying in addition to its busy three-times-daily Johannesburg-Cape Town service.
Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said: “As the city we believe this development is worth celebrating. Indeed, it is going to unlock innumerable economic opportunities. It is a national carrier, and it is a good feeling to have SAA back in our skies again”
SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo says, “Both from a business and leisure perspective the Durban decision makes sound commercial sense linking two important economic hubs. Durban is a vital springboard-destination to the rest of the province that is one the country’s premier tourism hubs and also poised for huge economic growth in coming years.”
“Many companies that play a significant role in our national economy are headquartered in Durban and surrounding areas and the city’s port is undergoing a multi-billion-rand expansion. This means there will be a growing need for an efficient, regular and safe service to Durban and SAA’s focus on the business community, is well suited for this.”
SAA’s Acting Chief Commercial Officer Simon Newton Smith says, “As travel opportunities begin to open both domestically and internationally, we’re now in a position to amplify our evaluation of routes here and regionally.
“Before the pandemic hit, tourism to KwaZulu Natal amounted to around R12-billion per annum while there has also been significant promise of business investment including plans to develop areas south of Durban, including an automotive supplier park special economic zone and a R4 billion logistics park. These welcome initiatives will need to be serviced by air transport and we see SAA playing a crucial role in this respect.”
Newton Smith says passenger interest in the route has been encouraging and over the next few months will be supported by targeted offers.