05 October 2020
Durban: I wish to reiterate our position that as we reconstruct and transform our economy, the aviation sector remains critical.
Yesterday, at 17h00 we welcomed Qatar Airline – the first international flight since the lockdown in March.
We express our appreciation to the Qatar Airline, pilots and cabin crew who made it possible for the passengers to arrive in Durban safely.
The arrival of Qatar Airline marks the new chapter in the history of aviation industry in KwaZulu-Natal since the outbreak of COVID-19.
I was impressed by the level of compliance with health protocols aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19. And, as the department we have committed to working with Airport Company of South Africa and all airliners to ensure adherence to the safety measures as stipulated by the national government.
Importantly, we are encouraged by the speed of the national government in resolving issues that resulted in the cancellation of Emirates Airline. We are confident that Emirates will fly to Durban in the next few weeks.
It should be remembered that the first Emirates flight between Durban and Dubai was on 1, October 2009. The airline has since carried over two million passengers on the route.
In addition, Emirates SkyCargo also remains a key enabler in facilitating global trade and export in South Africa by carrying a more than 3 8120 039 tonnes of crago of cargo to and from Durban over the last five years, with the majority being automotive and shipping components and perishables. We want to add more tonnes agricultural products to this list of goods exported to other countries through our Dube Trade Port.
Also, I can also indicate that other airlines such as British Airways has also indicated that they will be resuming their flights to Durban in Durban.
Also, we are expecting Air-Mauritius, Turkish Airlines and other international airlines to land back in KZN.
Critically, I commit to work with Airport Company of South Africa, the airline industry and all other stakeholders - as guided by the national government in order to ensure the implementation of all protocols aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19.
On the 27th September 2020, I issued a statement acknowledging the fact that before the lockdown, King Shaka International Airport had served between 5 to 10 million passengers. This includes domestic and international travellers into the province.
I acknowledged the fact that before lockdown, King Shaka International Airport had served between 5 to 10 million passengers. This includes domestic and international travellers into the province.
Stats show that around February, air transport and tourism industries in SA supported a total of about 472 000 jobs and contributed about R180 billion to Gross Domestic Product each year.
Today, I wish to reiterate my commitment to continue to work with all the airliners to position this province as a destination for tourists and for those who want to do business.
We are looking forward to a period characterized by the prosperity and the growth of aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors.
Working with all stakeholders, we offer to double our efforts to ensure the implementation of the KZN economic reconstruction and recovery plan.
ISSUED BY THE MEC FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS- NOMUSA DUBE-NCUBE
Ndabezinhle Sibiya – 082 375 4742
Nathi Olifant - 060 970 5113