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By Liesl Peyper

Moneyweb: Senior financial journalist


Flight prices top R6,000 for Durban July weekend travel

CemAir’s lowest fare for a return flight between Johannesburg and Durban this weekend is R5 798.60 and goes up to R6 373.50.


South Africans with last-minute plans to attend Saturday’s Durban July must be prepared to cough up more than R6 000 for a return flight, even during off-peak times.

The Hollywoodbets Durban July, which dates back to 1897 and takes place at the Greyville Racecourse, is Africa’s biggest horseracing affair and the most prestigious occasion on Durban’s event calendar. It attracts thousands of visitors every year, both local and international. Because of the popularity of the event, airfares have spiked.

Moneyweb compared the ticket prices of the five domestic airlines for flights between Johannesburg and Durban. The departure date is Friday, 5 July, and the return date is Sunday, 7 July.

Sky-high fares 

Ticket prices are generally more affordable when passengers book flights weeks in advance. Flights booked at the last minute can cost R2 500 more on a low-cost airline such as FlySafair.

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For the Durban July weekend, some of FlySafair’s ticket prices are more than double what they cost on less eventful weekends.

At the time of writing, FlySafair, which normally operates 19 flights between Johannesburg and Durban on Fridays, only had seats available for two flights this coming Friday – the infamous red-eye at 6am and one at 8.25am. In both cases the price is R3 305.

For the Sunday return there are still flights available in the more affordable category, at R1 652 for departures at 6am and 6.25am, but this rises to R3 305 for passengers who want to leave after 8am.

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This means a return flight between the two cities will cost a whopping R6 610.

The July weekend ticket prices quoted on FlySafair’s website also came with a warning – “Price going up soon”. Passengers who haven’t booked yet may therefore pay even more, if they manage to get a flight at all.

Other airlines

At the time of writing, Lift was the domestic airline that came in the cheapest, with a return ticket for a Johannesburg-Durban flight this weekend costing R4 890. However, the lower-priced tickets are for off-peak times – a 6am departure on Friday and a 10am return flight from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

Lift’s return fares for its two remaining available flights (from Johannesburg to Durban and back) were R5 921 and R6 200 respectively.

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CemAir’s lowest fare for a return flight between Johannesburg and Durban this weekend is R5 798.60 and goes up to R6 373.50.

Airlink charges R5 421 for a one-way flight from Johannesburg to Durban on Friday, but there are no flights available to return on Sunday night, so it’s not an option for weekend visitors.

SAA’s cheapest return ticket between Johannesburg and Durban is R6 061; the most expensive is R6 830.50.

Economic impact 

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality says in a media statement that the weekend’s event and other related occurrences, such as the Durban Fashion Fair, could contribute R670 million to Durban’s GDP.

According to Thembo Ntuli, chair of the city’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, Durban’s tourism and hospitality industry is prepared for the scores of visitors that will descend over the weekend.

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Additional safety measures have been implemented to ensure the event and related activities occur seamlessly.

“Metro Police officers will be deployed around the Greyville area working with other law enforcement agencies. All intersections will be managed for traffic control with some road closures,” he adds.

* With additional reporting by Terri-Ann Brouwers.

This article was republished from Moneyweb. Read the original here

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