East African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines is to bring another hub link to the South African city of Durban when it launches a new link to the city’s King Shaka International Airport from mid-December. The return of Africa’s largest carrier to the southern city, its third destination in South Africa, can be directly linked to recent World Routes forums, and of course, the hosting of this year’s event in Durban.
Ethiopian Airlines will further improve intra-African connectivity when it introduces the three times weekly Addis Ababa – Durban service from December 16, 2015. The flight, operated using a Boeing 737-800, will complement its existing services into Cape Town and Johannesburg and see it return to a market it last served in March 1998.
“King Shaka International Airport has always understood the economic importance of having a global carrier like Ethiopian Airlines operate to Durban. With the city hosting World Routes this year Ethiopian Airlines was able to see what the city had on offer from both a business and leisure destination. Hosting the event definitely played a role in securing the new route.”Keith Green
Air Services Specialist, Dube Trade Port
Alongside support point-to-point demand, the new flight has been scheduled to provide connection options within Africa and to Ethiopian’s growing intercontinental network via Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. This will provide additional transfer options to Durban’s existing flights from Emirates Airline (via Dubai) and South African Airways (via Johannesburg) and the soon to be launched flights of Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, which were both confirmed at last month’s World Routes network development forum.
Durban has been working to attract Ethiopian to the city’s modern King Shaka International Airport for some time and World Routes has played an important role in helping to deliver this new service with previous forum meetings and facilitating a direct meeting between Ethiopian’s chief executive officer, Tewolde Gebremariam and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Michael Mabuyakhulu at this year’s event.
“King Shaka International Airport has always understood the economic importance of having a global carrier like Ethiopian Airlines operate to Durban, the challenge we faced was not having a platform to meet with the airline face-to-face to present our business proposal,” Keith Green, Air Services Specialist, Dube Trade Port told Routesonline this week.
He confirmed that Dube Trade Port had met with Ethiopian at the last three World Routes events and was building a good relationship with the carrier. However, with Durban hosting the event this year the airline was able to see what the city had on offer from both a business and leisure destination. “Hosting the event definitely played a role in securing the new route,” added Green.
Ethiopian describes Durban as “an important gateway into South Africa and says the new service will offer passengers “more choice and flexibility and with no doubt, facilitate trade, investment, and tourism ties” between Ethiopia and South Africa.
Durban is the second largest metropolitan city and the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa. It is also one of the main tourism destinations in Africa because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dube Trade Port, ACSA, KwaZulu-Natal’s Economic and Tourism Development departments for their relentless support to make this new operation a reality,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines Group.
“The new Durban service will give our customers more and convenient connectivity options when traveling within, to and from the continent and we will continue to expand our reach in our home market in Africa with a view to support to the continent’s socio-economic integration and development,” he added.