Newcastle is one of those towns that is close but yet so far. It is four hours away from Durban and three hours from Johannesburg. With the news of daily scheduled flights to Johannesburg, the town’s municipality is optimistic that they will boost their already booming tourist town.
The R36 million European Union funded project was implemented to cater to the demands of people travelling to and from Newcastle. The new development will also incorporate a technology hub.
Ferdie Alberts, the Director: Economic Development at the Newcastle Municipality said the demand for scheduled flights were one of the reasons why they wanted to upgrade the hotel. Alberts said a survey done by the municipality revealed that there was around 3000 beds in the hospitality, of which almost 95 percent was booked daily.
“We are planning to launch by March 2018 and will have two daily flights to and from Johannesburg. The 35 minute flight will be ideal for business travellers who do not want to drive three hours to Johannesburg.
“For now we are thinking purely on a business level, however we will find ways to increase tourism,” he said.
The municipality is in talks with four major airlines, including SA Airlink to be one of their official carriers. According to Alberts, the estimated cost for a ticket will be R1400(single).
There are plans to launch flights to Durban- another big travel destination for locals. However, nothing is set in stone as yet.