From March 1, Qatar Airways will expand its South African network to 28 weekly flights as it introduces seven flights a week to Cape Town.
This follows the introduction of three weekly flights to Durban on Sunday (February 14) as well 18 flights to Johannesburg on January 26.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “South Africa has always been a very important market to us and we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the region by adding new routes and steadily increasing frequencies across the continent. As global travel recovers in 2021, we look forward to further expanding our network and offering more connections to and from Africa via the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport, to our global network of over 120 destinations.”
While reiterating the need for increased air capacity to South Africa to grow international tourism, South African Tourism has expressed delight at the news that Qatar Airways is expanding its network to South Africa.
“The confidence shown by Qatar Airways by increasing its air capacity to South Africa in these challenging times certainly demonstrates to the world that South Africa has put the necessary measures in place to ensure that it is safe for travel in the COVID-19 environment,” said SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona.
“Air access is important for South Africa as we to look to recover post COVID-19 and Qatar Airways has an extensive global network that links travellers via Doha from our source markets.”
He told Tourism Update during an exclusive interview last week that the “global aviation conversation” had been recognised by government as crucial to growing South Africa’s economy and unlocking opportunities for trade and tourism.
“As we embark on our tourism recovery strategy, having airlines such as Qatar Airways play a supporting role by increasing their capacity will go a long way in assisting us regain the international arrival numbers we lost during the pandemic.”
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, agreed. “This is key to rebuilding our economy, particularly in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors.
“We welcome the announcement that Qatar Airways will be expanding its South African network with seven weekly flights to Cape Town from the beginning of March. We have worked hard to ensure that all the necessary COVID-19 measures are in place so that we can safely welcome business and leisure travellers from around the world to experience the best that Cape Town and the Western Cape has to offer.”
The City of Cape Town announced earlier this week that it had secured more funding for the Cape Town Air Access initiative, and Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde reiterated during his State of the Province Address yesterday (February 18) that the Western Cape government would continue to engage with the global aviation industry to ensure more direct flights to the Mother City.