Wednesday, February 13, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Negotiations opened with Air Seychelles, other carriers over possible start of Durban - Seychelles & India flights.

Air SeychellesSouth Africa's KwaZulu/Natal MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, says that negotiations have been opened with Air Seychelles (HM) over the possible start of flights from Seychelles to the Indian Ocean city of Durban. Additionally, direct flights to India are also said to have been discussed with “a number” of airlines, as Durban is home to the largest population of Indians outside of India itself.

Umhlanga Rocks, Durban
Umhlanga Rocks, Durban (unknown)
According to IOL Travel, Mr Mabuyakhulu made the remarks during a visit to the Seychelles, which he said, would strengthen economic ties and co-operation – particularly in tourism – between Durban, the third largest city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town, and the island archipelago.

In late January, Mr. Mabuyakhulu said the KwaZulu/Natal government was also in negotiations with “a number” of airlines in a bid to get direct flights between Durban and India, though neither any specific carriers nor dates were mentioned.

In the past, Durban suffered from under capacity owing to the limited runway space available at the then Durban International Airport. However, since the inauguration of the new King Shaka International Airport in 2010, the situation has changed dramatically with the arrival of numerous international airlines e.g. Emirates (EK) currently serves Durban daily with a B777-300ER.

In a bid to boost King Shaka's traffic, Dube TradePort Corporation (DTPC) recently invited consultants to submit proposals to support it in further developing air services and route development services for the King Shaka International Airport (KSIA).