The Most Popular Flight Routes & Destinations for South Africans in 2018

As you wait for your flight at the airport have you ever asked yourself what are the most popular flight routes and destinations?

Newly released data ranks the most in demand domestic and international flight routes which
originated at several ACSA Airports including: O.R. Tambo International Airport, Cape Town
International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and more.

The rankings are based on an analysis of more than 800 000 individual trips that where booked on
Travelstart.co.za since the start of 2017.

Top 5 International Destinations 2018

• Harare (Zimbabwe)
• London (UK)
• Windhoek (Namibia)
• Mauritius
• New York City (U.S.A.)

For the first time, Harare tops the list of most popular international destinations for flights
originating in South Africa in 2018. While the top spots were always held by London (2014 and
2017) and Windhoek (2015 and 2016), Harare’s breakout growth this year may be a result of the
changing political climate in Zimbabwe.

London remains an important tourism and business air route for South Africans and has seen
increased capacity with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and SAA offering direct flights between
Heathrow Airport and South Africa. From October 2018, BA will launch direct flights between
Durban and London marking the first time three of South Africa’s largest airports are served with
non-stop connections to Heathrow at the same time.

Despite being a long-haul destination (16 hours one way from Johannesburg), New York City has
become a top five contender for the first time in 2018 moving past Dubai which is operated by
Emirates direct from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban daily.

Top 5 Domestic Destinations 2018

• Cape Town
• Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo Airport)
• Durban
• Johannesburg (Lanseria Airport)
• Port Elizabeth

Since 2014, there has been little movement in the domestic category with Cape Town,
Johannesburg and Durban maintaining their first, second and third place rankings respectively for
the past 4 years. In 2017, George Airport (GRJ) exited the top 10 domestic destinations list after
appearing consecutively in 2015 and 2016.

Lanseria, South Africa’s fourth largest airport by passenger numbers, has moved up the rankings in
the past two years owing to increased capacity and a runaway upgrade in 2013. South Africa’s
dominant low-cost carriers, Mango Airlines, Kulula and FlySafair, operate flights to Lanseria. Kulula
initiated its Lanseria operations in 2006, Mango followed in 2010 and FlySafair in 2016. In May,
Lanseria announced plans to double its passenger numbers to more than 4 million within the next
six years.

Routes on the Rise

Flights to London Heathrow from Johannesburg increased by 88% between 2014 and 2017 and
regional destinations such as Windhoek and Harare increased by 51% and 118% respectively.
International routes between Cape Town and the UK and Namibia have seen noticeable increases
since 2014.

• CPT – LHR bookings increased by 62% between 2014 and 2017
• CPT – WDH bookings increased by 107% between 2014 and 2017
• CPT – WVB bookings increased by 219% between 2014 and 2017

As Durban’s King Shaka Airport has attracted more international carriers, outbound passenger
numbers have increased with Dubai (+273%) and London (+118%) showing the most growth
between 2014 and 2017.

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