King Shaka Airport Spreads its Wings

An Image of King Shaka AirportPrivate airline operator Comair and the Dube TradePort Corporation have struck up a strategic partnership that will see the introduction of flights between Durban and London as well as other regional African destinations over the next 12 months.

The new international air service will be between the newly built King Shaka International Airport and London’s Gatwick International Airport, which is one of the fastest growing secondary hubs in the UK.

Committed to investment

Comair will also introduce a regional air service between Durban and Nairobi, Kenya, while the two partners are also working to introduce routes to Lusaka, Harare, Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Maputo. Developments on these routes will be announced as the various parties work towards the viability of the different routes.

They will also build a business-class lounge in the international section of the King Shaka International Airport.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce to you today that we have secured a partnership with South Africa’s biggest private airline Comair and the Dube TradePort Corporation on behalf of [the] provincial government,” KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Michael Mabuyakhulu, said on the sidelines of the Tourism Indaba in Durban on the weekend.

“As [the] provincial government we have always been committed to building and investing in the new King Shaka International and the Dube TradePort as part of our strategy to reposition the province in the global economy.”

Maintenance, repair and overhaul facility

In addition, Dube TradePort is undertaking a major project to establish the first substantial maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to cater for large commercial aircraft belonging to local and international airlines. Construction will begin during the course of this year.

Comair will work with Dube TradePort with the objective of becoming the first launch customer of the facility when it is fully operational, subject to the Dube TradePort putting forward an attractive commercial proposition to Comair.

The development of the facility will create a new economic sector in the local economy in aerospace, and Mabuyakhulu believes it can be used to attract a range of associated aerospace support services over the medium term.

Providing more access

Despite tight market conditions, Mabuyakhulu was confident that Dubai-based Emirates would introduce double daily flights from October this year, providing even more access to the Middle East market, thereby increasing tourist arrivals and growing business and trade relations.

“The regional air services to Nairobi first and the development of routes to Lusaka, Harare, Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Maputo will begin to integrate our regional economy into the SADC market, and is one of our priority national economic development objectives set out in the New Economic Growth path for integration into a [Southern African Development Community] market,” he said.