Mandela Bay to get Lanseria air link

Municipal airlift strategy starts paying off as introduction of two extra flights a day will offer wider choice for business and tourism travellers

Port Elizabeth’s airport needs to attract more international passengers
Port Elizabeth’s airport needs to attract more international passengers
Image: Riaan Marais

Two new flights from Port Elizabeth International Airport to Lanseria have been added to Nelson Mandela Bay’s flight schedule.

This was announced by Bay economic development executive director Anele Qaba earlier this week.

The two flights a day will be operated by Mango Airlines and the new route will be introduced from July 11 using a Boeing 737-800.

This comes as a result of the municipality’s airlift project in an effort to bring more business and visitors to the Bay.

Qaba said access to the metro and the cost thereof had been identified as barriers to tourism and economic growth within the region.

He said air access needed to be prioritised to make it easier and more affordable for visitors to explore the city.

“The addition of a new destination is the result of the collaborative airlift work between the city, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Lanseria International Airport and Airports Company South Africa, and operated by Mango Airlines to offer travellers an alternative point linking Gauteng province with Nelson Mandela Bay.

“It is expected that this service will capture a mix of visiting family and relatives, business and leisure travellers originating around greater Johannesburg, the Gauteng province and beyond.

“Lanseria International Airport offers a gateway to the north, which covers the cradle of humankind and Sun City,” Qaba said.

In June 2018 the municipality signed a service-level agreement with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the Airports Company South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

Qaba said Lanseria had been identified as one of the “low-hanging opportunities” and within a year they had secured the air travel link.

“We understand that airlift is critical for seamless flow of trade and tourism, thus our airlift strategy has identified Kruger Mpumalanga, including the catchment, Zimbabwe, and Namibia as the potential markets the collective (the City, ECDC, Chamber, and ACSA) will be pursuing to link with Nelson Mandela Bay in the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.

Mango Airlines acting CEO Marelize Labuschagne said it was excited to launch the route and an enormous amount of work had gone into increasing its network out of Lanseria. “This additional route is a win for both cities, and Mango is privileged to be a part of boosting local tourism.

“At a time when our economy needs stimulating Mango has set its sights on unlocking the immense social and economic value that tourism provides.

“We are expecting that the route will capture a combination of business and leisure travellers originating from the southern and northern parts of Johannesburg, the wider Gauteng province and beyond.

“Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Garden Route and a highly populated tourist area so we are expecting this to be a popular network choice,” Labuschagne said.

NMB Business CEO Nomkhita Mona said this would make the region more accessible and would increase healthy competition among the various airlines, making the route more affordable.

“This would further result in more business and leisure tourism growth. For this reason, the Business Chamber has engaged the services of an air access specialist company to assist with ensuring that the route is serviced more and that new routes are opened.

“We are delighted that the meeting we had with Mango and Lanseria Airport executives – as part of the airlift collective – on the sidelines of the Cape Town AviaDev (Airline Development Conference) recently is bearing tangible fruit.

“All parties were in support of the route between Lanseria and Nelson Mandela Bay,” Mona said. 

“With Quarter one of 2019 showing favourable growth on the domestic travel front, the latest Mango route will further enhance our plans to increase domestic travel,” commented South African Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini.

“When compared to the period time last year, holidays trips have increased by 60,5% and we are confident that the latest route between Lanseria International Airport and Port Elizabeth Airport will influence these figures positively.”

This route is a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful tourism experiences and products in the Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay areas with the region growing as an Ocean Safari destination,” said Dlamini.