The Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana has unveiled Fly Blue Crane as a new airline that will operate between Mthatha and Johannesburg at Mthatha Airport starting on the 01st October 2016.
Historically there was only one airline that was servicing the Mthatha to Johannesburg route from the Mthatha Airport.
The demand for the route has risen sharply and the Department of Transport had to respond by attracting more airlines to tap into this lucrative route and also to improve the viability of the airport in order to contribute to the economic development of the area.
Fly Blue Crane Airbus landing for the first time at the Mthatha Airport.It’s a newly renovated airport with improved infrastructure.
An Airport located at the centre of the province where great leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Chris Hani among others were born. It is an economic and tourism hub of the province.
Tourists and investors are attracted to the wild Coast for business opportunities.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana says the new Airliner will attract more people in the province and create more job opportunities.
“It means more employment opportunities will be provided for the unemployed, also the tourism line because we understand that in the Eastern cape we are having the grave for Tata Mandela.”
“We are having Port St Johns and it will be the shortest route to Port St Johns and N2 Wild Coast Sun , that is what we are waiting for , if we join our hands with economic Development and also Tourism we believe that there will be more efforts to try and create job opportunities.”
Fly Blue Crane CEO Sizakele Mzimela is excited about the new route between Mthatha and Johannesburg and has urged business people and the community at large to support Fly Blue Crane Airliners.
“I think what we are offering is the alternative for the travellers who are flying to Mthatha of a product which is a good product at a reasonable fare and I think that is important because we are trying to encourage more people to fly.”
King Sabatha Dalindyebo mayor, Dumani Zozo says communities and business people will be able to use an accessible airliner to reach their destinations.
“We are very much excited as the people of King Sabatha Dalindyebo to get a second airliner because for us now it actually allows a fair competition.”
Mthatha Chamber of Business chairperson Vuyisile Ntlabathi believes that the introduction of a second Airliner between Mthatha and Johannesburg will boost the economy of the eastern part of the Eastern Cape.
“It’s really a dream come true as you may remember we have been part of the task team that we need a competitive airliner in this province , you will remember that our people have been travelling mainly through East London .”
Small business people and villagers from Mthatha are also hopeful that they will get an opportunity to benefit from the introduction of more airlines in the province.