Durban - While two airlines have pulled the plug on their Durban routes, KwaZulu-Natal is now aiming to get a direct London route.
Ethiopian Airlines is the latest airline to cease operations between the east African city and Durban, less than a year since it launched in December last year.
Ethiopian Airlines representative Mengistu Adelahu confirmed the suspension of the flights.
This is the second airline in recent weeks to suspend routes to Durban, when two weeks ago Air Seychelles announced that it had suspended flights to Durban just four months after the first flight.
However, the KZN department of economic affairs said this was a “ temporary issue”.
Spokesman Bongani Tembe said the suspension of the flight routes was temporary according to seasonal demand.
“We believe the airlines will resume flights to Durban. The department continues its campaign to persuade other airlines to fly direct to Durban.
“Recently, our officials spoke with the Visit Britain team, which is a tourism entity similar to Tourism KZN, and they have made a commitment to try to get British Airways to fly direct between Durban and London.
“Obviously the final decision lies with British Airways, but the discussions are happening,” said Tembe.
Air Seychelles direct flights to Durban will be discontinued as of Thursday, the reason being the poor contribution to inbound tourism in the Seychelles which did not meet their airline’s expectations.
Durban would continue to be served by Air Seychelle’s codeshare partner SAA, with flights via Johannesburg.
Guests booked on flights to and from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport after Thursday will be rerouted on Air Seychelles’ Johannesburg flights, which are operating as per normal schedule.
Ethiopian Airline’s flights are expected to be suspended from the beginning of next month, with flights already booked to be rerouted via Johannesburg.