World Routes 2019, Australia beckons for KwaZulu-Natal
20 September 2019
Durban Direct will be beating the KwaZulu-Natal drum at the 25th World Routes Conference in Adelaide, Australia next week (September 21-24)
“The 2019 World Routes Conference in Australia provides us with a unique platform to engage with airline network planners face-to-face, as well as an opportunity to directly showcase Durban and the rest of the KwaZulu-Natal province as a destination with huge potential for airlines to establish new direct air services,” said Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
Since Durban hosted the World Routes Conference in 2015, major global airlines such as Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have inaugurated flights from King Shaka International Airport (KISA). Further enhancing Durban’s air connectivity into global destinations, British Airways introduced direct flights to London in October last year as part of its ₤4.5 billion (R82.06 billion) five-year customer investment plan. Within the Southern Africa Development Conference (SADC), Air Namibia and Proflight Zambia have inaugurated flights from Durban.
These services complement the domestic flights by South African Airways via Johannesburg and Emirates Airline via Dubai, as well as Air Mauritius which provide vital regional, continental and intercontinental connectivity.
“World Routes is important for the province. It is the world’s largest commercial aviation event that is focused on route planning; where decision-makers from the world’s airlines, airports and tourism authorities gather to plan air services and discuss global aviation industry strategies,” said Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Ms Phindile Makwakwa, Durban Direct Co-Chair said: “This is part of KwaZulu-Natal’s aggressive drive to increase its air connectivity, thus unlocking the province’s economic growth potential, as it enables us to attract business investment, human capital and tourism – all vital to the province’s economic prosperity.”
“Our global air activity is being boosted by major infrastructure development projects that are underway and in the pipeline. By 2022 we expect no fewer than R60 billion worth of tourism investments boosting job and business opportunities in the sector,” she said.
Air (and port) connectivity is the lifeline of the economy. It unites people, places, facilitates trade, tourism, creates jobs and supports communities and therefore the decisions taken at World Routes have a significant impact on the economic and social development of cities, regions and countries.
“Recent research by Dube TradePort Corporation shows that tourism into markets where airlines establish direct flights historically experience a 30%-40% growth within the first year of the route’s establishment,” said Mr. Hamish Erskine, the Durban Direct Co-Chair.
“We have seen consistent overall passenger growth since last year. International passenger numbers through KISA grew by a record 42% month-on-month from November to December 2018 alone. Combined with strong domestic passenger growth of more than 6% in December 2018, saw KSIA retaining its position as South Africa’s fastest-growing major airport for a second year. This upward trend continued into 2019. We recently saw international year-on-year passenger numbers increase by 28% and 18% in June and July respectively,” he said.
The rising number of international flights has had a positive spin-off on the cargo tonnage throughput at Dube TradePort Corporation’s Cargo Terminal with international airfreight growing by 40% from April to December 2018.
“Following the introduction of the British Airways direct service to Durban in October last year, the market was quick to take up the additional available cargo capacity and international cargo figures rose by 7,64%,” said Mr. Hamish Erskine.
He said passenger figures had grown significantly since Dubai-based airline Emirates began flying directly into Durban, adding that currently more than 60% of the market leaving Durban wanted to travel directly from the city.
“The market is telling us business and leisure travellers in Durban want to be able to fly from King Shaka International Airport,” he said.
Durban Direct is a multi-entity and departmental committee of the province of KwaZulu-Natal that is dedicated to driving the co-ordination and promotion of international air services into King Shaka International Airport through the provinces Route Development Committee.
This team comprises KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Durban Tourism, Enterprise iLembe, the Airports Company South Africa (Durban) and South African Tourism.
“Ultimately it is about a collaborative approach to promoting KwaZulu-Natal as an investment and tourism destination choice for local and international visitors,” said Erskine.