Travelstart.co.za ranks the most popular air routes and destinations for South Africans.

Newly released data ranks the most in demand domestic and international air routesfrom O.R. Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport.

The rankings were based on an analysis of more than 800 000 individual trips booked on Travelstart.co.za since the start of 2017.

Top 5 international destinations for 2018 were:

  1. Harare Zimbabwe
  2. London UK
  3. Mauritius
  4. New York City
  5. Windhoek Namibia. 

For the first time, Harare tops the list of most popular international destinations for flights originating in South Africa in 2018. 

While the top spots were always held by London (2014 and 2017) and Windhoek (2015 and 2016), Harare’s breakout growth this year may be a result of the changing political climate in Zimbabwe.

London remains an important tourism and business air route for South Africans and has seen increased capacity with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and SAA offering direct flights between Heathrow Airport and South Africa. 

Despite being a long-haul destination (16 hours one way from Johannesburg), New York City has become a top five contender for the first time in 2018 moving past Dubai which is operated by Emirates direct from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban daily.

Top 5 domestic destinations for 2018 were:

  1. Cape Town
  2. Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo Airport)
  3. Durban
  4. Johannesburg (Lanseria Airport)
  5. Port Elizabeth.

Since 2014, there has been little movement in the domestic category with Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban maintaining their first, second and third place rankings respectively for the past 4 years. 

In 2017, George Airport (GRJ) exited the top 10 domestic destinations list after appearing consecutively in 2015 and 2016.

Lanseria, South Africa’s fourth largest airport by passenger numbers, has moved up the rankings in the past two years owing to increased capacity and a runaway upgrade in 2013. 

Routes on the Rise

Flights to London Heathrow from Johannesburg increased by 88% between 2014 and 2017 and regional destinations such as Windhoek and Harare increased by 51% and 118% respectively.

International routes between Cape Town and the UK and Namibia have seen noticeable increases since 2014.

CPT – LHR bookings increased by 62% between 2014 and 2017

CPT – WDH bookings increased by 107% between 2014 and 2017

CPT – WVB bookings increased by 219% between 2014 and 2017

As Durban’s King Shaka Airport has attracted more international carriers, outbound passenger numbers have increased with Dubai (+273%) and London (+118%) showing the most growth between 2014 and 2017.