Comair plans London Gatwick-Durban route

South African media are reporting that BA franchisee Comair is planning a new route between London Gatwick and Durban.

There are currently no direct non-stop flights between London and Durban – BA, SAA and Virgin serve routes from London Heathrow to both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

South African carrier Comair operates as a BA franchise on domestic and some international routes using ATR and Boeing 737 aircraft, and also has a low-cost operation under the kulula.com brand.

It’s not clear whether Comair will seek to operate the Gatwick-Durban route under BA colours – British Airways was unable to comment on the plans when contacted today.

It’s unlikely that any new route would commence until next year, with website IOL Travel quoting Comair joint CEO Gidon Novick as saying that “There is now a huge amount of work ahead of us to get all the regulatory approvals to start flights to London”.

“This includes getting permission from British Airways to possibly use their brand in operations to Gatwick. There are other options, like using our kulula.com low-cost brand, but British Airways would be our first choice on that route,” said Novick.

If the route was to be operated under the BA franchise agreement, flights would be bookable through ba.com, opening up the opportunity of passengers connecting onto other BA services from the South London airport.

For a recent forum discussion on the possibility of a BA route between London and Durban (and other possible new routes), click here.

Durban’s King Shaka International Airport opened in May last year before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, replacing Dubai International Airport. Emirates is one of the few carriers offering international services from the airport, with a daily service using A330 aircraft.

For more information visit comair.co.za.

Report by Mark Caswell


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  • If they do, be prepared for a pleasant surprise.

    The BA lounge at DUR is, in a word, excellent. As good as the Concorde Room at T5, but more spacious and airy, and the staff are particularily helpful and obliging.

    You’d think it was run by CP..

    The airport itself is way out of town, though, almost out to Tongaat, and although the motorway into Durban is smooth and fast, it’s a toll road. R7, I think.

    Comair is well run, and Kalula just as good, and cheaper, in economy, but on Kalula you won’t earn BAEC miles or tier points.

  • This will vastly speed up the journey from London.

    With no transit time at Johannesburg not to mention take off and landing – this is going to save travellers 3 hours making London to Durban an 11 hour journey.

    This should make Durban an accessible holiday and second home destination just like Cape Town and being subtropical and enjoying fine weather virtually all year round makes it a better Autumn and Spring destination too.

    Umhlanga Rocks Umdloti Beach and Ballito Bay will really thrive not just on Transvaalers but on Europeans

    By the way the toll is low and can be avoided by using R102.

    If they were really enlightened – they might consider running one or two weekly flights to Scotland (say Glasgow) and the North (say Manchester)

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