Exciting news for the Zulu Kingdom and King Shaka International Airport is the arrival of Qatar Airways. Expanding its network in South Africa, the Gulf carrier will be providing four weekly services to Durban from Doha via Johannesburg on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from December 17th this year.

Qatar Airways fleet

Qatar Airways has a fleet of over 150 aircraft that connect to more than 125 international destinations and since commencing operations in 1994, has shown significant growth. Operating from his hub at Hamad International Airport, the airline acquired its One world Alliance membership in 2013.

The additional flights on the Doha-Johannesburg-Durban route will double Qatar Airways flights on the Doha-Johannesburg segment and it is the first new destination, in ten years, to be added to Qatar Airways South African network, where flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town commenced in January 2005. Flights from Doha to South Africa will be operated in Boeings 787-8 Dreamliner with two classes and 254 seats.

“At Qatar Airways we strive to provide our passengers with the best of service levels on the ground and on board our modern fleet. We also provide our passengers with a strong global network of business and leisure destinations, and the city of Durban will be a welcome new addition to our extensive route map,” His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer, Qatar Airways Group.

Qatar Airways on introducing flights to Durban

Durban is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg with the presence of a number of major multi-national companies and is also famous for being the busiest port in the African continent. It is also seen as one of the main centres of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches and is an exciting holiday destination thanks to its luxury resorts and adventure sports opportunities.

“Durban is an important gateway into South Africa and we are very confident that this route will be warmly welcomed like all our other routes in the African continent,” added Al Baker.

Africa is an integral part of Qatar Airways global expansion plan that presently services 140 weekly flights to 19 African destinations that has in the last five years added Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea to its African network. From February this year the airline was the first to operate a Boeing 787 on daily flights between Doha and Tunis and replacing the Airbus A320 with Boeing increased its capacity by 92 per cent from 132 each day to 254 in both directions, clearly a valuable move.

Qatar Airways transported over two million passengers in and out of Africa during 2014 with the most demanding routes being from Doha to Cairo, Khartoum, Johannesburg, Lagos, Algeria and Algeria.

Kwa-Zulu-Natal with the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) invested substantially in King Shaka International Airport including the Dube Trade Port that serve as a major gateway to Africa and with the arrival of Qatar Airlines opportunities for further international arrivals will surely be enhanced.

Speaking at World Routes, Michael Mabuyakhulu, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs of KwaZulu-Natal said: “We are pleased that World Routes Durban 2015 has featured good news for our province, the city, the country and, indeed, the region as one of the fastest-growing brands in the aviation business.”

“The news that Qatar Airways will be introducing a new flight service between Doha and King Shaka International Airport is in line with our ambitious plans of developing an aviation inspired conurbation, the Durban aerotropolis, as a catalyst towards the stimulation of growth to unleash considerable business and employment opportunities for our people,” he added.

The new service will offer a complementary long-haul hub connection offer to those already offered by Emirates Airline via Dubai and South African Airways via Johannesburg. “The international profile of Qatar Airways speaks for itself and will, therefore, create an avenue for our city and province to connect to more than 151 destinations in all six continents which guarantees an upsurge in the tourist, business and general passenger numbers to grace King Shaka International Airport,” noted Mabuyakhulu.