British national carrier, British Airways is set to end flights to several of its routes in March 2021including Durban, South Africa, Seychelles and ten other countries it flies to citing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to thesouthafrican.com, the aviation sector is still in crisis mode, with most airlines scaling down their operations, shrinking their route networks, returning aircraft to lessors, retrenching staff and terminating routes they operate.
The industry faces a grim future due to the global slump in demand for air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
British Airways has announced it will discontinue flights on several of its routes in March 2021. This is in order for the airline to consolidate its route network and slow down its cash burn due to the global slump in air travel and tourism.
BRITISH AIRWAYS TO TERMINATE ROUTES IN 2021
Due to decreased demand from passengers, British Airways announced it will drop 13 destinations from its route network. The airline will discontinue flights between the UK and the following destinations from 28 March 2021:
Durban, Pittsburg (US), Charleston (US), Calgary (Canada), Dammam (Saudi Arabia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Osaka (Japan), Seoul (Republic of Korea), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Lima (Peru) and Muscat (Oman).
British Airways will also terminate flights to the Seychelles on 24 April and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 30 April.
British Airways Suspends Other Destinations
British Airways has decided not to stop flying permanently to certain key destinations. The airline anticipates a resurgence in passenger demand later in 2021 for flights to Sydney, Bangkok and San Jose.
Blow To Kwazulu-Natal Tourism
The termination of British Airways’ direct flights between Durban and London will come as a huge disappointment to KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism sector.
KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism industry has been hard hit as a result of the national lockdown and South Africa’s border closures. The hospitality and tourism sectors in the province have suffered tremendously as a result of the global slowdown in tourism, despite South Africa having reopened its borders in October.
Loss Of Air Connectivity For Durban
The loss of direct flights between Durban and London will have a significant impact on the province since British visitors are important to KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism sector. The UK was among South Africa’s top five tourism source markets before the COVID-19 pandemic.
British Airways provides a convenient direct connection between Durban and the UK. The direct flight is popular with South Africans travelling from Durban to the UK to visit family, friends and relatives, as well as for business trips.