In the time it takes to have a leisurely three-course lunch at a restaurant, you can fly from Harare directly to Durban in the comfort of Airlink’s modern Embraer ERJ135 aircraft.

Durban Direct, the KZN Route Development Committee, arranged a fitting water canon salute as the plane touched down with a full load of passengers.

Passengers flying from Harare disembark from Airlink’s modern Embraer ERJ135 Regional Jet at King Shaka International Airport in Durban on Tuesday 5 April

This brand-new Durban-Harare route linking the two cities will be the Airlink’s third direct service to Zimbabwe’s capital, along with flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

It will be operating three times a week Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

In addition, KwaZulu-Natal will see a massive boost in tourism and this new route will open more doors not only in Zimbabwe, but also to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region which will help grow investment and tourist numbers from the network.

All in all, a win-win situation with great outcomes. Having non-stop flights on the route means greater convenience and options for travellers who want to save time and avoid connecting in Johannesburg.

This is an indication to the rest of the world that there is easy accessibility to KZN reinforcing the fact that KZN is fully open for travel, given the fact that Qatar Airlines, South African Airways, Emirates and now Turkish Airlines are back on the Durban direct route.

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay said this new route will significantly improve both leisure and business travel, which in turn will greatly assist our tourism sector’s recovery from the devastation of the Covid-19 health emergency and the associated restrictions under which it has had to labour for so long.

“Importantly, too, the air route opens the doors to the prospect of an altogether new era of air-based trade between Durban and its borders and Harare,” he said.

Rodger Foster, Airlink chief executive officer underscored the commercial and tourism importance of Durban and Harare, which were key Airlink markets.

“We believe that our new service will promote commerce and tourism between the cities, as well as KZN and Zimbabwe.

“Non-stop flights are popular because they are more convenient and save time for travellers,” Foster said.

Passenger on the flight gave positive feedback about their short and sweet experience.

Grace Mushaninga shares, “the service was of excellent quality, and I am happy that there is a Durban-direct route as many Zimbabweans will be using the airline”.

According to a simplifying report, Airlink serves 45 destinations, primarily across Southern and Eastern Africa.

The carrier also recently launched domestic routes, including a double-daily Durban – Gqeberha service, with a resumption of directs to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.