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Ethiopian, Qatar Airways Expand In South Africa With Durban Routes

Ethiopian, Qatar Airways Expand In South Africa With Durban Routes

Pan African carrier Ethiopian Airlines and its Middle Eastern rival Qatar Airways both launched new service this week to Durban from their hubs in Addis Ababa and Doha.

Ethiopian Airlines will initially have flights to Durban three days a week. Its Durban service will be separate from its existing services to Cape Town and Johannesburg, unlike Qatar’s Durban service, which will be linked to flights to Johannesburg, 256businessnews reports.

Qatar Airways is expanding operations in South Africa with new service between Doha and Durban four times a week, an addition to the airline’s existing daily flights to Cape Town and twice daily to Johannesburg, FinancialChannel reports.

That means Qatar now has 21 flights a week to South Africa from Qatar Airways’ hub Hamad International Airport, according to Qatar Airways.

Durban, South Africa’s third-largest city, is Africa’s busiest cargo port. It’s known for its 300-plus days of sunshine a year, its beaches, warm ocean, surfing, diverse population and outdoor activities.

Durban is also home to Dube TradePort, a business entity of the KwaZulu-Natal government and its largest infrastructure project. Considered one of South Africa’s top 10 investment opportunities, this industrial development zone is geared to promote foreign and local investment, according to its website.

The trade port is located 30 kilometers north of Durban and its anchor occupant is the King Shaka International Airport. Dube TradePort claims to be the only facility in Africa combining an international airport, dedicated cargo terminal, warehousing, offices, retail, hotels and agriculture.


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Durban will be Ethiopian Airlines’ 53rd African destination and its 90th globally. The carrier flies to more global routes than any other African airline, according to Mail&Guardian. In 2014 it became Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit while other African airlines floundered.

“As a Pan-African airline working to bring Africa together and closer to the entire world, we are bullish on the prospects of continuous expansion of our reach in our home market Africa and beyond,” said Ethiopian Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam at the launch of the new service.

With Durban’s “excellent aviation infrastructure and the development of the Dube TradePort, we expect the number of business and employment opportunities in Durban to increase,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who was planning to be on the inaugural flight Dec. 17.

“Qatar is one of South Africa’s largest trading partners in the Middle East and we are proud to strengthen this business relationship with the launch of our new route connecting Durban directly to Doha,” Al Baker said.

Ethiopian Airlines’ profit is more than the rest of Africa’s aviation industry combined, Mail&Guardian reported in August. It is $430 million more than rival Kenya Airways, which in July booked a record $257 million loss.

It is $375 million more than South African Airlines, which has reported a net loss of $200 million.

EgyptAir continues to book losses as the challenge of the revolution continue to hammer it, M&G reported.

Of Ethiopian Airlines’ rivals on the continent, only government-owned Royal Air Maroc posted a significant profit for its most recent financial year.