Middle-Eastern airline Qatar Airways has announced plans to expand its flight operations in South Africa.
The group said that by March 2021 it plans to operate 28 weekly flights from the country, including:
- Cape Town will see an increase to 7 weekly flights;
- Durban will see an increase to 3 weekly flights;
- Johannesburg will see an increase to 18 weekly flights.
"We are proud to be the leading international carrier connecting South Africa with Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the US, offering more flexible travel options and a global network of flights that passengers, trade and business partners can rely on," said Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
"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, Al Baker said that the airline plans to further expand its network and offer more connections to and from Africa.
The move has been welcomed by South African Tourism chief executive Sisa Ntshona who said that the extra flights will be a boon for the country’s Covid-19 lockdown recovery.
"This 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," he said.
"Air access is important for South Africa, as we to look to recover post-Covid and Qatar Airways has an extensive global network that links travellers via Doha from our source markets."
Ntshona said that the move by Qatar Airways to increase its capacity will go a long way in assisting the country regain the international arrival numbers.