British Airways new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is one of the many reasons for the new Durban route. Travellers can take a comfortable 13-hour flight to Durban from London's Heathrow three times a week.
The route expansion is part of British Airways £4.5 billion, five-year customer investment plan.
Paolo de Renzis, Commercial Manager for Europe, Corporate Sales and Africa, said at the British Airways Durban route launch at the Oyster Box that the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, with its composite fuselage, can fly further and economically than previous generations of long-haul aircraft.
“Modern, twin-engined aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner means that airlines could reassess routes that were not profitable in the past.
“With airports like King Shaka International into the mix, it becomes more compelling,” he said.
The airline will fly from Durban to London every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, departing King Shaka International at 07.35 am and arriving in Heathrow at 18:45 pm.
The 787 Dreamliner offers 214 seats across three cabins: 154 in World Traveller, 25 in World Traveller Plus and 35 in Club World.
According to Renzis, there were many reasons for British and European travellers to visit.
These include blue-flag beaches, golf courses and safari experiences.
“British Airways is very committed to South Africa. We have flown to the country for more than 90 years. Having Durban as part of the new route in South Africa is the cherry on the cake,” he said.
The airline will evaluate the success of the route in the coming months, he said.
“We will monitor the performance of the route and see from the figures whether it will be viable to increase the route days,” said Renzis.
Statistics reveal that more than 100,000 passengers travel between Durban and the United Kingdom every year.
Sihle Zikalala, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs said new international and regional air routes optimised opportunities for tourism and leisure, business and commercial, cargo and manufacturing.
Acting Chief Executive of Tourism KZN, Phindile Makwakwa said the UK had been one of the province’s best-performing markets.
Tourism KZN has launched a 24-month marketing campaign with the airline.
The airline also flies twice-daily service from Heathrow to Johannesburg and daily to Cape Town year-round. It will double the Cape Town schedule during the South African summer season and will add three weekly flights from Gatwick.
* British Airways is offering a launch special from Durban with discounts up to 13% on return fares. World Traveller launch fares start from R7 740, World Traveller Plus from R15 740 and Club World from R33 740. The special ends on November 4, 2018.