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Turkish Airlines returns to Durban

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
The inaugural Turkish Airlines flight landed at King Shaka International Airport on Thursday.
The inaugural Turkish Airlines flight landed at King Shaka International Airport on Thursday.
Image: Supplied

Turkish Airlines has reintroduced direct flights from Durban to Istanbul.

On Thursday the inaugural flight landed at King Shaka International Airport.

The 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.

Emirates has five flights a week from Durban directly to Dubai and Qatar Airways has four direct flights a week, with plans to increase this to five later this month.

“The reintroduction of these flights reopens business and tourism opportunities between Istanbul and Durban. It underpins the resilience of KwaZulu-Natal, its people and leadership to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the the destructive flooding on the tourism industry,” said Ravi Pillay, economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC.

“This achievement, along with the 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.”

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.

Turkish Airlines' Johannesburg-Durban-Istanbul return route will boost cargo airlift capacity, said Hamish Erskine, CEO of Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone and Durban Direct co-chair.

“With the gradual reintroduction of international, regional and domestic air services the Dube Cargo Terminal has seen growth of 23% 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.”

Most countries have eased restrictions on SA travellers, provided they are fully vaccinated.

Phindile Makwakwa, co-chair 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.

“Air services continue to play a critical role in ensuring ease of travel for tourists, thereby growing KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism sector which grows the tourism economy and increases job opportunities within the tourism value chain.”

Nkosinathi Myataza, Airports Company South Africa regional general manager, said Turkish Airlines flights would add much-needed traffic between Europe and SA.


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