The Turkish airline has extended two of its Istanbul-Johannesburg flights to include Durban on Thursdays and Saturdays and has plans to increase these to four weekly flights later this year, depending on passenger uptake.
Currently, Emirates flies five flights a week from Durban directly to Dubai, Qatar Airways flies four direct flights a week, with plans to increase this to five later this month; and now Turkish Airlines brings additional capacity with the reintroduction of flights into Durban.
The Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Ravi Pillay says the reintroduction of these flights reopens business and tourism opportunities between Istanbul and Dubai.
The MEC further said the move underpins the resilience of KwaZulu-Natal, its people and leadership to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications of the recent destructive flooding have had on the tourism industry.
“This achievement, along with the recent direct Airlink flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, is indicative of the untapped capacity within our destination for air services, as well as the behind-the-scenes work being undertaken by Government and its agencies to bring air connectivity into KwaZulu-Natal,” said Pillay.
King Shaka International Airport is regarded as the second-fastest recovering international airport in the country, achieving 71.9% of its pre-COVID-19 passenger throughput in the year to date.
By March 2022, international load factors had reached 50% of the March 2020 pre-covid level and domestic load factors have achieved the pre-covid level of 77% year to date.
Chief Executive Officer of Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, and Durban Direct Co-Chairperson, Hamish Erskine said the Turkish Airline’s Johannesburg-Durban-Istanbul return route would boost cargo airlift capacity. “
“With the gradual reintroduction of international, regional and domestic air services, the Dube Cargo Terminal has seen a growth of 23 percent in cargo volumes over the past 12 months. This is a direct result of the increased capacity available in passenger flights serving King Shaka International Airport,” he said.