MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs of KZN Highlights new Qatar Airways Durban Route at World Routes Summit
The province of KwaZulu-Natal, together with the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) has invested heavily in the establishment of King Shaka International Airport and the surrounding state-of-the-art Dube TradePort that lies at the heart of Durban’s aerotropolis. This development has created a unique opportunity to increase international air arrivals, as it is a gateway unique to the African continent. Dube TradePort facilitates the export, import and transhipment of products, and the continued investment by Government will allow the positioning of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa to participate in export-driven activities and international trade.
On the back of this, The World Routes Development Summit, as the largest and most premier aviation and tourism event in the Routes portfolio, attracting the most senior representatives from airlines, airports and tourism authorities who wish to meet, discuss and plan new and existing global flight routes, decided that 2015 would be an opportune year to bring the summit to the African continent for the first time. World Routes Durban 2015 has been taking place at the Durban ICC (Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre) from the 19th September 2015 and ends on the 22nd September, and more that 3000 delegates from over 110 countries have descended on South Africa’s sunniest city.
“On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and the City of Durban, we are pleased that World Routes Durban 2015 has featured good news for our province, the city, the country and, indeed, the region as one of the fastest-growing brands in the aviation business,” says KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu. “We are, of course, alluding to the news that Qatar Airways will be introducing a new flight service between Doha and our state-of-the-art King Shaka International Airport. This move is in line with our ambitious plans of developing an aviation inspired conurbation, the Durban aerotropolis, as a catalyst towards the stimulation of growth to unleash considerable business and employment opportunities for our people.”
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways confirmed that it will be initiating a new international route between Durban and Doha, and the official launch date of this particular flight has been set for the 17th December 2015. The new flight will operate four times per week with a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft via Johannesburg. The new international service will connect Durban to more than 151 destinations across the globe via Qatar Airways’ Doha Hub.
Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu welcomed Qatar Airways’ expansion plans in South Africa by further concluding: “The international profile of Qatar Airways speaks for itself and will, therefore, create an avenue for our city and province to connect to more than 151 destinations in all six continents which guarantees an upsurge in the tourist, business and general passenger numbers to grace King Shaka International Airport. As government we have duly recognised that accessibility is a key feature needed to achieve sustainable economic growth and prosperity and it is in that spirit that we continue to provide services and improve the provision of world class transport and logistics infrastructure. Our partnership with Qatar Airways will therefore add value to our campaign of building sustainable air connectivity from King Shaka International Airport to the rest of the trading world, which would ensure that KwaZulu-Natal becomes a key regional aviation hub.”
At a media briefing organised during the World Routes Development Summit, Qatar Airways’ Country Manager for South Africa, Jonathan Minnett, made a speech about the airline’s impending launch of services to Durban and thanked Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu for his warm welcome. He also said that the airline was delighted to take part in a key aviation and tourism event in Durban – a city, which has seen spectacular growth in the leisure and business sector over the years.
Qatar Airways’ Vice President for Africa, Jared Lee, also commented on the airline’s participation at the event saying: “We are proud to be participating at the World Routes forum this year which brings together top executives from airlines, airports, tourism authorities and civil aviation authorities from around the world. Our participation in this forum has particular significance as we are launching our award-winning services to Durban this year and further growing our footprint in South Africa by increasing our Cape Town flights to a daily service from 1st October, as well as increasing Johannesburg to a double daily service from 17th December.”