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Scheduled flights into Kruger by March
Friday, 23 August 2013

Airlink is expected to launch direct flights to Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park from March 2014.

This follows SANParks selection of Skukuza Airport Management Company as the preferred operator for Skukuza Airport, which is jointly owned by Lion Sands, Federal Air and Airlink.

Rodger Foster, Airlink’s CEO, said: “In terms of the arrangement, Airlink will provide daily scheduled airline services linking Skukuza with Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, and via these hubs and our partnership with South African Airways, together with it’s the Star Alliance carrier’s global networks, to the rest of the world. Lion Sands will provide hospitality and retail services at the Skukuza airport and Federal Air will supply feeder and charter services carrying passengers between Skukuza and the game lodges in the region. Federal will also provide links from Skukuza to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to feed our onward flights to Livingstone in Zambia and Vilanculos in Mozambique.”

Airlink plans initially to offer daily flights from Cape Town and a twice-daily service from Johannesburg with flights from King Shaka International to follow.

The consortium will sign a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with SANParks for a period of ten years.

In terms of the partnership, Skukuza Airport Management Company will be given access to the airport from September 1 to commence with the upgrades, which include rehabilitation of the runway, refurbishing the terminal building and redesigning navigational procedures to minimize impact on the environment.

Once the upgrades are complete, the process to obtain approval of the airport and its facilities at the category required by the SA Civil Aviation Authority’s will commence. It is anticipated that this will be achieved before the start of the 1st Quarter of 2014 with Airlink’s scheduled airline services commencing in March 2014.

“The opportunity to link Skukuza synergistically with Airlink’s other destinations in Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique will allow for very exciting African safari opportunities, a feature which our travel industry colleagues are extremely excited about”, said Foster.

David Mabunda, SANParks CEO said the agreement will benefit SANParks’ long haul clients and those from major centers who will no longer be subjected to a two hour drive from Nelspruit to the Kruger National Park. “We are reliving a tradition that started in 1959 to enhance visitor convenience and experience and we are looking forward to working with our new partners in taking the business of managing national parks assets to another level,” he said.

By : etnw
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