06 September 2016

King Shaka International Airport has surpassed projections, and experienced year on year growth of 46% in international passenger volumes in July 2016 compared to July 2015.

International passenger numbers for both inbound and outbound travelers rose to 34 753 during the month of July 2016 from 23 855 the previous year.

Mr Hamish Erskine, Acting CEO, Dube TradePort Corporation credited the positive response by the KwaZulu-Natal traveler market to the existing and recent new international carriers serving Durban.  “The increased direct air connectivity into Durban has done a lot to stimulate demand from passengers flying internationally. The new direct routes into Durban have given consumers the freedom to fly directly from more destinations around the world, with the new airlines opening access to over 900 global destinations through their strong networks that are now available through hubs in Dubai (Emirates Airlines), Doha (Qatar Airways), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian airlines).”

The addition of these new long haul flights has had an impact on driving both leisure and business travel, with delegates of major events, such as the recently held World Aids Conference, having the option to fly directly to Durban from anywhere in the world.

Terence Delomoney, General Manager of King Shaka International Airport said, “The airport is viewed as a major economic catalyst for investment and growth in the region. International traffic has grown from 5% of the total traffic to 7% over the last year; on the back of a 42% increase in available seat capacity to more international destinations.  This occurred during the last quarter of 2015, which coincided with the successful hosting of the World Routes conference, and the launch of four new International operators being Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Proflight.

"On the domestic front, Fly Safair also started flights from King Shaka International Airport last year which has increased domestic seat capacity; in the process making flying more accessible to the wider South African market.   The domestic market has grown by 9% for the period April to July 2016 compared to the same period last year.

“We really appreciate the contribution made by, and the partnership we as the Airports Company South Africa enjoy with the various Provincial and Local government entities, led by the Provincial Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. These efforts have directly resulted in attracting new airlines and growing the route network into the Province.

“We must now appeal to the KZN public and business to support the new routes to ensure their sustainability, and to further develop new routes connecting King Shaka International Airport to the rest of the world.”

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala noted, “The current upward trends in both our international passenger and cargo volumes are good signals for the province's economic prospects, especially as we work to advance KwaZulu-Natal’s position as a world-class travel and investment destination. As the government, we are supporting the economy by, amongst other things, attracting long-haul international flights, which provide greater opportunities for the local manufacturing sector to export globally and removes potential hurdles for international travelers visiting the province, allowing us to expand the potential to grow both our tourism business and trade.”

The increased capacity has also greatly assisted in ensuring the growth of local exports, with international cargo throughput volumes, experiencing a double-digit growth of 25% from January to July this year. This has come as a direct result of the increased capacity.

These developments are firmly establishing Durban as a strong secondary route into South Africa and as the primary port of entry into KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the second largest economy in South Africa.  The latent potential of this large catchment area is starting to demonstrate the ability to achieve sustained passenger and cargo volume growth.