Air Mauritius will increase its flights to Cape Town from Mauritius, from two a week to three in November.
It will also increase the number of flights to the island from Joburg. But it will stop its service from Durban on October 26, leaving Emirates as the only airline flying overseas from Durban's new King Shaka International Airport. Its departure will be a further disillusionment for people living in Durban, who hoped for more international flights without the inconvenience of having to change planes in Joburg.
The airport was opened as one of the preparations for hosting the Fifa World Cup, despite the fact that international airlines warned that they would not use it – preferring to end their flights in Joburg to avoid having to change crews for the short onward flights to Durban, and allowing domestic airlines to carry their passengers further.
Taxes and advice
Comair considered starting a service between Durban and London/Gatwick, hoping to extend its British Airways (BA) franchise in SA to cover that route.
But it dropped the idea after research by BA – perhaps fortunately in view of the 8 percent rise in the already high air passenger duty that passengers are charged entering or leaving the UK, on top of the new EU carbon trading scheme. This effectively penalises passengers arriving on long-haul flights by forcing airlines to buy units to offset emissions of CO2 from the moment of take-off.
The combined effect of these two taxes on tourism to Britain may be disguised this year by the two major attractions – the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics. It is likely that the effect on the British tourism industry next year may shock the government into dropping or severely reducing the air passenger duty.
For those who do travel to Britain this year, the British Civil Aviation Authority has some advice for all passengers. Some of it seems obvious, such as "write down exactly where you parked if coming to the airport by road", but it may be hard to remember if you left in a hurry and return days later to search in a crowded parkade.
Another, less obvious, is the warning that "code-share agreements mean that the airline you book with isn't always the one operating your flight, which may affect your rights if you are denied boarding or the service is cancelled or delayed".
Others include the fact that check-in times can differ from airline to airline. If you make a mistake you can miss your flight, and that if you don't take the outbound flight originally booked for, contact the airline immediately to ensure your return booking is not cancelled.
TAP-ing voyager miles
South African Airways and Portuguese National Airline TAP, which are both partners in the international Star Alliance, have expanded their code-share agreement.
SAA passengers who earn Voyager miles on flights with TAP from Joburg to Lisbon can now earn them on TAP flights between Lisbon and Funchal in Madeira and other domestic destinations in Portugal.
Africa's top airport
Cape Town International Airport will receive the annual Airports Council International (ACI) award for the best-performing airport in Africa on May 24 in Singapore. Awards include best improved airport and the Skytrax award for staff service excellence last year.
Deon Cloete, the airport's general manager, told a destination marketing conference last month that "it hopes to attract more airlines to fly to the city".
An African royal merger
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which flies to Cape Town all year round, has added Luanda, the capital of Angola, to its intercontinental destinations with two scheduled services a week from Amsterdam.
KLM and Air France, which now flies to Cape Town in summer as well as to Johannesburg all year round, have merged, but with each airline retaining its separate identity. They have announced plans to devote "special attention to Africa" this year. KLM will add Lusaka to its list of destinations next month.