Durban welcomed three weekly direct British Airways (BA) flights per week into King Shaka International Airport from October with the city making its inaugural appearance on the airline’s Top 19 Must-See Destinations for 201

Durban - King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) growth continues to soar as recently released figures show that international passenger numbers grew by 13% in December to end 2018 on a record high.

According to Dube Tradeport, the precinct from which the airport operates from, the international numbers, together with strong domestic passenger growth of more than 6% for 2018, saw KSIA retaining its position as South Africa’s fastest growing major airport for a second year.

The December peak season performance follows an 11% increase in international passenger numbers for November, compared to November 2017. KSIA handled almost 5.9 million domestic and international passengers in total during 2018, of which 372,543 were passengers flying on international routes.

“British Airways new non-stop service between London’s Heathrow International Airport and Durban, introduced in late October 2018, has propelled growth at KSIA. We are now seeing double digit growth in international passengers,” says Hamish Erskine, Co-Chair of Durban Direct and CEO of Dube TradePort Corporation.

“The three times a week flight has proven that there is an untapped demand for direct air services into Durban. The growth we are seeing with the Durban- London route is in line with the projected growth demonstrated by our business case to British Airways, which factored into their decision to introduce the direct route,” he adds.

Erskine explains that besides the 11% international passenger growth in November 2018 and 13% growth in December, respectively (compared to the November and December 2017), KSIA’s international passenger numbers grew by a 42% record high month-on-month, between November and December 2018. Besides the new British Airways route, this was due to Emirates putting on extra flights between Dubai and Durban in December.

According to official statistics from the Airports Company of South Africa, KSIA handled a total of 5,880,390 passengers in 2018, showing a growth of 6.4%. The airport also handled a record total of 553,149 passengers in December 2018, of which 41054 where travelling on international routes. KSIA’s previous record month was in December 2017, when it handled 520,930 passengers.

Daily News