Air Namibia's first flight to Durban receives a watery salute from King Shaka airport's fire engine tenders.

Durban - Durban’s King Shaka International Airport continued to surpass expectations when it welcomed Air Namibia as the latest airline to fly directly to the airport.

The airline will be flying to the city four times a week using a small jet that can carry 37 passengers, so Durban passengers can now travel directly to Gaborone and Windhoek.

Dube Tradeport Corporation chief executive Hamish Erskine said: “KwaZulu-Natal has embarked on an integrated route development strategy which focuses on a joint international and regional air connectivity strategy.

“The regional strategy seeks to connect the airport with SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries and the wider African continent.

“To date, the airport is successfully supporting additional regional routes, such as Air Mauritius, SA Express flying to Harare, Proflight Zambia to Lusaka, SA Air link flying to Maputo, Ethiopian Airlines flying to Addis Ababa and now Air Namibia.”

Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs, said since its opening in May 2010, King Shaka airport “has surpassed projections and experienced growth of 14 percent from August 2015-16, as well as an impressive 17 percent growth in cargo over the same period. Passenger volumes in the month of July 2015 saw a phenomenal 46 percent growth.

“Our quest is to continue to attract Namibian investments and also to encourage our companies to invest in Namibia,” said Zikalala.

That customers could now fly directly to Maputo, Harare, Lusaka and Mauritius. Ethiopian Airlines flying to Addis Abba from the airport meant Durban’s air connectivity with the continent was becoming a reality.

The Mercury