Sell it aggressively, Zuma urges

2012-03-09 00:00

ALTHOUGH King Shaka International Airport has performed well since opening its doors in 2010, President Jacob Zuma yesterday called for more aggressive marketing of the multi-billion-rand landmark.

The former Durban International Airport moved 4,4 million passengers prior to its decommissioning. In contrast, King Shaka International is set to surpass the five million mark for the 2012 financial year.

“King Shaka International should aggressively market itself as a key entry point for international routes,” said Zuma.

“It must attract various international carriers to Durban via additional bilateral air service agreements. I have not seen sufficient marketing.”

Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu conceded that more needed to be done to attract international carriers, noting that although it had meagre resources in this regard, the provincial government would “step up its game”.

While the airport has been a success, there remain challenges. Air Mauritius recently announced that it would close its route to Durban in October after recording a loss in its last financial quarter.

The airline has planned similar moves affecting other foreign destinations like Geneva and Munich.

However, Zuma announced that SA Express had chosen Durban as a base from which to grow its footprint into the Southern African Development Community region.

This was a welcome development given the intense desire to remove barriers to free trade in Africa.

“SA Express has concluded an agreement with the Dube Trade Port Corporation, which will see the connection of King Shaka airport to the region, especially to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.

“Upon the success of these operations, SA Express will expand further into countries such as Namibia, Malawi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Zuma added.

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