Nelson Mandela Bay Airlift Status Update



The NMB Airlift aims to enhance connectivity between Nelson Mandela Bay and other key destinations in South Africa and the Southern Africa region.

As set out in our airlift strategic plan, NMB Airlift aim to enhance connectivity between Nelson Mandela Bay and catchment area with major key destinations in South Africa and Southern Africa region. The aim is to enable seamless movement of people, goods and services out the city and ease of doing business with the region.

In our medium plan, Lanseria was identified as one of the priority destinations to offer Gauteng travellers into the Bay more departure points options due to rapid growth of new patterns of urbanisations in the City of Gold, thus increasing travel time between metropolitans. The first flight out of Lanseria was successfully welcomed by the NMB Airlift and its stakeholders on the 11th of July 2019, operated by Mango Airlines with a total of two flights a day and this will make travel into the Northern part of greater Johannesburg easily accessible from time and cost perspective.

In a Short to medium term, the focus is on re-establishing a link between Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, to reduce the cost of doing business between the two Metropolitans and airlift has been identified by business community as one of the major constraints. Historic figures indicate that at least 300 passengers per week moved between the two metropolitans by air, and we believe that when aggregating the figures with those travelling by road, there is a compelling case for a direct link, of course a limited support will have to be explored with the prospective air operators for sustainability. Preliminary discussions with local regional operators have started and a planned mission is planned in Johannesburg for further discussions late October and November 2019 on the modalities and various forms of support NMB Airlift can jointly explore with identified operators.

Furthermore, connectivity into Durban and to an extent Cape Town is still an issue despite an increase in number of seats deployed by our local Low-Cost Operators.

However, it is worth noting that trade travellers prefer frequency of flights spread throughout the day at the right timing over large gauge deployed once a day, which is a phenomenon the regional operations airline model execute well. The possible return of Fly Cemair into our domestic air travel market after ceasing operations early this year is encouraging. We will definitely engage with the airline in order to ensure that the regional routes as highlighted above are properly serviced. The former and other regional operators play an important role in South Africa as they provide important air connectivity between smaller communities and big cities.

Medium to Long-term – we remain confident that an air links with Kruger National Park, Namibia Windhoek and Zimbabwe Harare will enhance the city’s regional competitiveness and facilitate seamless movement of people, goods and services across the Southern Africa region. Hence, concerted efforts by the NMB Airlift and its key stakeholders to realise this set targets.