King Shaka International Airport was officially opened in 2010 and has since garnered many accolades. The airport was voted the top Regional Airport for Africa in the Skytrax World Airport Awards in 2013 to 2016, and was second in the 2013/2014/2015/2016 ACI for the Best Airport in the Middle East/Africa category. In 2016 the airport was voted by Skytrax for the Best Airport Staff in Africa!
The airport is a major economic catalyst for investment and growth in the region. From inception, King Shaka International Airport enjoyed only 5% of international traffic, but this sector has shown great growth to almost 24% presently. In the last quarter of 2015, and during the hosting of the successful World Routes 2015 Qatar Airways; Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Zambia and FlySafair were launched and these airlines are now flying to Durban to compliment the current carriers operating at King Shaka International Airport.
King Shaka International Airport currently has a capacity capability of 7, 5 million passengers per annum. The airport, until the end of April financial year 2017 was handling almost 5.2 million passengers annually. The 3.7 km runway allows for the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747s to land and take off; and provision has been made for a second runway when demand requires this in the future.
Durban is rated as the "event city" of South Africa and the airport works closely with strategic partners including, EThekwini Municipality, Convention Bureau, ICC Durban, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tourism KZN, Durban Tourism, Dube TradePort, Trade and Investment KZN and others to ensure our airport is always ready to welcome tourists, business and conference delegates.
Shaka International Airport is a strategic member of the KZN Route Development Committee, KZN Growth Coalition and Tourism KZN amongst others, we are a key economic driver. Attracting long-haul international flights, which provide greater opportunities for the local manufacturing sector to export globally and removes potential hurdles for international travelers visiting the province. This has allowed the province of KwaZulu-Natal to expand the potential to grow both our tourism business and trade.
The increased international passenger capacity has also greatly assisted in ensuring the growth of local exports, with international cargo throughput volumes, experiencing a double-digit growth of 25% from January to July 2017. This has come as a direct result of the increased capacity.
The are many strategic developments that are firmly establishing Durban as a strong secondary route into South Africa and as the primary port of entry into KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the second largest economy in South Africa. The latent potential of this large catchment area is starting to demonstrate the ability to achieve sustained passenger and cargo volume growth and is becoming the catalyst to the development of the Aerotropolis which was recently signed off by the KZN Parliament.