Turkish Airlines has reintroduced direct flights from Durban to Istanbul.
The inaugural flight landed at King Shaka International Airport on Thursday.
The airline has extended two of its Istanbul-Johannesburg flights flights to Durban on Thursdays and Saturdays and plans to increase this to four weekly flights later this year depending on passenger traffic.
Emirates offers five weekly flights from Durban direct to Dubai and Qatar Airways four direct flights per week, with plans to increase that number to five later this month.
“The reintroduction of these flights opens up business and tourism opportunities between Istanbul and Durban. It underpins the resilience of KwaZulu-Natal, its people and leadership to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and devastating flooding on the tourism industry,” said Ravi Pillay, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. p>
“This success, together with the Airlink direct flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, is indicative of the unused capacity of our destination for air services as well as the behind-the-scenes work being undertaken by the Government and its agencies to provide air links to KwaZulu-Natal.”
King Shaka International Airport is ranked as the second fastest recovering international airport in the country, achieving 71.9% of its pre-Covid-19 passenger traffic year to date.
< p>Turkish Airlines’ Johannesburg-Durban-Istanbul return route will increase cargo air transport capacity, said Hamish Erskine, CEO of Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone and Co-Chairman of Durban Direct.
“With the gradual reintroduction of international, regional and domestic air services, Dube Cargo Terminal has seen cargo volume growth of 23% in the last 12 months. This is a direct result of the increased capacity of passenger flights serving King Shaka International Airport.”
Most countries have eased restrictions on South African travelers provided they are fully vaccinated.
< Phindile Makwakwa, Co-Chairman of Durban Direct and Acting CEO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, said: “The return of Turkish Airlines is very important for tourism as Istanbul offers our destination fantastic connectivity to our tourism source markets in Europe.
< p>“Air services continue to play a vital role in ensuring the convenience of travel for tourists, which is driving KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism sector to grow, boosting the tourism economy and increasing employment opportunities within the tourism value chain.”
< p>Nkosinathi Myataza, Regional General Manager of Airports Company South Africa, said Turkish Airlines flights would enough traffic between Europe and South Africa.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to The Sunday Times. Only 20 R for the first month.