Eswatini Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Eswatini, has launched a new route between King Mswati III International Airport in Manzini, Eswatini, and King Shaka International Airport in Durban, South Africa.
The route will be operated by an Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft with a maximum capacity of 50 passengers, and initially, three flights per week will be available on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. From 1 June 2023, flights on this route will become daily.
The flight to and from Durban will also provide seamless and convenient transit stops for passengers travelling between Durban and Johannesburg, between Durban and Cape Town, and for passengers travelling between the South African city and Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.
Speaking about the new route, Siboniso Duma, Minister for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the leader of Government Business in KwaZulu-Natal, said: "We are pleased to announce the launch of the new route between Eswatini and Durban. This route will not only enhance the tourism potential between the two destinations but will also strengthen the trade relationship."
Eswatini is a key regional tourist market and has close historical and cultural ties with the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Before the pandemic, travellers from Eswatini averaged 290,000 a year, and in 2022 the tourist flow showed a significant recovery (up 89 per cent).
Local airlines play a significant role in strengthening trade and economic relations between the countries, developing cities, increasing tourist flow and creating new industries.
The introduction of the new route is expected to boost trade between the two regions.
According to the World Bank, more than 60 per cent of exports from Eswatini go to South Africa and more than 80 per cent of the Kingdom's imports come from South Africa, as reported by Durban TV, a partner of TV BRICS.
Councillor Phili Ndlovu, Deputy Chairperson of Economic Development and Planning Committee in eThekwini, praised the launch of the new route to Durban. He said the authorities are working to revitalise the local tourism sector.
Photo: Durban TV
"A high level of cooperation is maintained with Latin American countries in the humanitarian sphere. The number of countries with which we have established a visa-free regime is steadily growing - currently it covers 27 Latin American states. This opens up more and more opportunities for business, scientific and cultural exchanges, as well as increasing counter tourist flows"