TURKISH Airlines on Thursday (today) launched its third service to South Africa with an inaugural service to Durban.
The four-times a week service will initially ‘be an extension of the direct Istanbul to Johannesburg route with the plane going onto Durban on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300 was greeted by the spray of two fire engines from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport (KIA), where there was a large contingent of Turkish and South African media.
Speaking at a ceremony inaugurating the flight, Terence Delomoney, KIA general manager, said that the arrival of Turkish Airlines would increase the number of seats on international flights from the airport by 18 percent.
He said the aim would be to have a daily direct flight between Durban and Istanbul.
Turkey’s ambassador to South Africa, Kaan Esener, said: “It is a major step. I think Turkish Airlines has done something great to come to Durban.”
The airline, which has a fleet of more than 280 planes, flies to 280 destinations in 110 countries.
KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu said that he saw the airline as being South Africa’s means of accessing Eastern Europe and Russia. He said he would also like to see the airline develop its airfreight capacity into the airport.
Apart from Turkish Airlines, the only other international airlines operating out of the airport are Emirates to Dubai, Air Mauritius to Port Louis and ProFlight to Lusaka in Zambia.
Starting next month Ethiopian Airlines will link Durban and Addis Ababa. Qatar Airways will connect Durban with Doha. – ANA