in Air Transport

Swaziland seeks to diversify network through subsidised ops

Posted 22 February 2018 · Add Comment

Following the collapse of the Swazi Airways venture before it ever even launched flights, the Swazi government is now courting South African carriers over their interest in connecting Manzini King Mswati III Int'l to various cities across South Africa and even Zimbabwe, reports ch-aviation.

Since it opened to commercial traffic in 2014, King Mswati III International Airport has remained a white elephant given the only operator to serve it is Swaziland Airlink with multiple daily services to a single destination - Johannesburg O.R. Tambo.

The General Director of the Swazi Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA), Solomon Dube, said talks were underway with unspecified South African carriers over the development of flights from Manzini to Cape Town and Durban King Shaka and even to Harare Int'l, Zimbabwe, suggesting 5th Freedom traffic rights have been used to sweeten the deal.

SWACAA's decision to pursue the routes comes on the back of a feasibility study undertaken by Lufthansa Consulting which showed significant traffic to the three cities being forced to transit Johannesburg en route.

No agreements have yet been finalised as SWACAA is in the process of trying to convince government to subsidize the routes in their start-up stages. The carriers are reportedly demanding a 100% subvention for the first year of operations, 75% for the second, and 40% for the third.

 

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