Good news in the air for growing region
Reports that a third airline carrier is about to launch additional regular flights between Richards Bay and Johannesburg is great news for the area.
Commuters between the
City of uMhlathuze, and indeed the greater region, now have seven options of daily flights and a choice of carriers.
While the majority of passengers are business people, a significant number are private customers and tourists, all of whom welcome the extra options.
What would be even more appreciated, however, would be to see some competition in the form of a ‘price war’.
Richards Bay flights have always been extremely expensive, possibly going back to the early days of the ‘boom’ that saw the port being built and major industries, factories, construction companies and supporting businesses flooding the town.
With seeming endless resources, and as a captive market, these corporates were quite happy to pay the going rate for the convenience of flying direct to Richards Bay to do business.
The poorer paying public simply had to fork out for tickets at the same price – and many still found it much cheaper to drive all the way to Durban for flight prices that, even with the petrol and toll fares added, were significantly lower than flying from Richards Bay.
One trusts there won’t be some sort of collaboration or unspoken agreement between the three carriers and that commuters can look forward to better rates in future as the normal competition aspect kicks in.
On the horizon, of course, is the plan for a major new airport, based on envisaged future demand.
The renewed focus on Richards Bay’s potential for growth and investment was highlighted last week by a report published by Alexander Forbes, which named the city as the number one location in terms of unlocking development potential for the country’s economy.
The report showed many advantages over other municipalities, according to a number of comparative criteria.
The ‘location attractiveness index’ was the very reason the deep water port city grew as it did.
And there’s no reason why it can’t continue on the upward economic path.