EDITORIAL | New flight routes good news for Bay

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News that the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is in talks with three airlines in a bid to introduce new flight routes to and from Port Elizabeth is to be welcomed.
The objective of the municipality’s airlift project is simple: to help bring more business and visitors to the Bay.
The introduction of new routes such as a proposed direct flight to Mpumalanga – a gateway to the internationally renowned Kruger National Park – will undoubtedly boost tourism and trade locally.
New routes are good news from a tourism perspective as they also allow for new visitor packages and offerings to be developed.
This can only benefit our industry.
Having to take tedious connecting flights is fun for noone and some foreign visitors have been known to bypass Port Elizabeth altogether.
Business and leisure travellers from the Bay have also expressed much frustration about the limited – not to mention overpriced – flights to and from the likes of Durban and Bloemfontein.
We reported on Tuesday that additional flights to these destinations are now also being looked at.
More flights mean more airline partners and therefore presumably also more competitive pricing of tickets – a ray of hope in these constrained economic times.
While city officials were reluctant to divulge details, they did say the metro had also identified Namibia and Harare in Zimbabwe as key priority markets for trade and tourism.
It would be most interesting to see what opportunities for the Bay could be unlocked there in future.
Economic development boss Anele Qaba is right when he says new airline activities will not only bring people and goods into our city but also create jobs, directly and indirectly, along the value chain.
With Qaba’s contract among several coming to an end soon, it is vital this most viable idea continues to be actively pursued so it may become a reality.
This city is good at coming up with bright ideas, but not always so good about seeing them through...

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