Local airline FlySafair has announced that they now have the rights to operate flights between Mauritius and South Africa and will introduce a twice-weekly service as soon as government regulations allow.
According to a statement issued by the airline, the launch of the new route is expected to take effect in the second quarter of 2021, pending changes to international regulations.
The island nation – which is a popular destination for South African travellers – currently has a travel ban to and from South Africa in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is an all-important milestone for the FlySafair team as we look to expand our operations,” said the airline’s chief executive officer (CEO), Elmar Conradie, in a statement.
“We’ve had our sights set on offering services beyond South Africa for some time and hope this will be one of many announcements in the future.”
Low cost airtime @FlySafair application to operate flights between SA and Mauritius has been approved. The schedule is currently not available due to the islands National travel ban to and from South Africa. But this is definitely a win for SA travellers ????
— MaTita (@anelisa_tuswa) February 1, 2021
According to the airline, South Africans have had a long-standing love affair with Mauritius as a travel destination.
“In 2018, 1.4 million tourists visited the island – exceeding its total population at the time – and South Africans made up 14.2% of these visitor numbers followed by Germany at 11.7%. On the flip side, there’s been steady growth in Mauritians visiting South Africa between 2018 and 2019 with a notable 6.2% increase year-on-year.”
The island destination recently began their country’s vaccination drive as they seek to revive their hard-hit tourism industry and welcome visitors again.
It’s finding that my fave @FlySafair‘s application to operate flights between SA and Mauritius has been approved. This is a win for SA travellers. If only they could go back to the prices before COVID-19 and SAA’s BRP.
But ke anyway, we fly.
— intombazane the girl (@ladynamedthando) February 1, 2021
Air traffic has, understandably, declined significantly in the last year as a result of the pandemic, however, according to FlySafair’s chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon, the quiet time gave the company some time to think more strategically about the future of the airline.
“With some of the major local carriers still grounded, we’re hoping to provide some much-needed capacity on the route between OR Tambo and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.”
Despite this being the low-cost carrier’s first foray into international flight services, the company has assured travellers that it would be relying on the expertise of its parent company Safair.
Safair has operated a number of specialist aviation services including the transport of cargo across Africa and as far as Antarctica during its 50 years in existence.
This is over and above operating partnerships with airlines such as Kulula, AirNamibia, South African Airways and Ryanair over the last three decades.
There are no other airlines on the route. SAA and Air Mauritius both under administration.
— Africa Insights (@AfricaInsights) February 1, 2021