King Shaka International welcomes its first international flight since lockdown
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MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the arrival of Qatar Airline marks the new chapter in the history of aviation industry in KwaZulu-Natal since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“I was impressed by the level of compliance with health protocols aimed at fighting the spread of Covid-19. And, as the department we have committed to working with the Airport Company of South Africa and all airliners to ensure adherence to the safety measures as stipulated by the national government,” said Dube-Ncube.
She said she was confident that Emirates would resume its flights to Durban in a few weeks.
“It should be remembered that the first Emirates flight between Durban and Dubai was on October 1, 2009. The airline has since carried over 2 million passengers on the route.”
She said Emirates SkyCargo also remained a key enabler in facilitating global trade and export in South Africa by carrying 38 120 039 tons of cargo to and from Durban over the last five years, most of which was automotive and shipping components and perishables.
“We want to add more agricultural products to this list of goods exported to other countries through our Dube Trade Port.”
She said other airlines including British Airways, Air Mauritius and Turkish Airlines had also indicated that they would be resuming their flights to Durban.
The MEC said King Shaka International Airport had served 5 to 10 million local and international passengers.
“Stats show that around February, air transport and tourism industries in SA supported a total of about 472 000 jobs and contributed about R180 billion to gross domestic product each year.”