Qatar Airways Confirms Durban Debut in South African Expansion

Africa continues to play an important part in Qatar Airways’ global network expansion strategy and the airline currently operates 140 flights per week to 19 African gateways.

Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has confirmed it will introduce flights to this year’s World Routes host city, Durban, as part of an expansion of its network in South Africa. The four times weekly service, as an extension of an expanded schedule between Doha and Johannesburg, will be launched from December 2015, just two months after the global networking event, providing an important new hub connection offering to the coastal city.

The news of Qatar Airways’ plans to fly to Durban were exclusively first revealed by our Airline Route blog ten days ago on February 8, 2015 after it was discovered that the schedules had been loaded , but not formally displayed, in the GDS and the information was visible in the OAG Schedules Analyser product from flight intelligence provider, OAG.

The addition of the four new flights on the Doha – Johannesburg – Durban route from December 17, 2015 will increase Qatar Airways’ offering on the Doha – Johannesburg sector from ten weekly to double daily, while from October 1, 2015 it will operate daily flights between Doha and Cape Town ahead of the busy 2015/16 winter travel season, an increase from five weekly flights this winter.

“At Qatar Airways we strive to provide our passengers with the best of service levels on the ground and on board our modern fleet. We also provide our passengers with a strong global network of business and leisure destinations, and the city of Durban will be a welcome new addition to our extensive route map,” His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer, Qatar Airways Group.

Durban is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg with the presence of a number of major multi-national companies and is also famous for being the busiest port in the African continent. It is also seen as one of the main centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches and is an exciting holiday destination thanks to its luxury resorts and adventure sports opportunities.

“Durban is an important gateway into South Africa and we are very confident that this route will be warmly welcomed like all our other routes in the African continent,” added Al Baker.

It will be the first new destination to be added to the Qatar Airways network in South Africa in over ten years, with flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town both starting in January 2005. All three routes will be operated using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner equipment configured with 254 seats in a two-class arrangement.

Africa continues to play an important part in Qatar Airways’ global network expansion strategy and the airline currently operates 140 flights per week to 19 African gateways.  Since 2011 the airline has added the following African destinations to its global route network: Entebbe (Uganda); Kigali (Rwanda); Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Maputo (Mozambique); Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Djibouti International Airport (Djibouti) and Asmara (Eritrea).

This week, Qatar Airways boosted its activities into Tunisia with the deployment of a Boeing 787 on its daily flight between Doha and Tunis, becoming the first operator of the modern generation airliner into the North African country. The 787 replaced an Airbus A320 on the daily city pair from February 17, 2015, boosting capacity by 92 per cent from 132 a day in each direction to 254.

According to segment demand, Qatar Airways carried just over two million passengers in and out of Africa in 2014 with its busiest routes linking Doha to Cairo, Egypt; Johannesburg, South Africa; Khartoum, Sudan; Algiers, Algeria and Lagos, Nigeria.

In our chart, below, we look in greater detail at the Qatar Airways network in and out Africa and its best performing routes across the Continent based on estimated average passenger loads from Hamad International Airport in Doha during 2014.