Durban International Airport
, formerly Louis Botha Airport, is
located in Durban, South Africa. The runway is shared
airport is the smallest of South Africa's three declared
international airport gateways (after Johannesburg and Cape Town), with a single north-south runway bordered by the
Umlazi Canal to the north and the
industrial suburb of Prospecton to the south.
The airport is
accessible from the N2
Durban has seen a decline in international traffic over the years.
ended it 4 times
weekly direct service from London in 1999
. Air India
terminated service to both Durban and Johannesburg
. For a short period of
time Singapore Airlines
only airline offering intercontinental flights from Durban.
a large majority of international airlines serving South Africa fly
Durban suffers from relatively low
international passenger numbers, and a runway that is too short for
a fully-laden Boeing 747
to take off.
Ironically, Durban's sea level location means that, were a suitable
runway available, a large jet could carry both a full load of
passengers and fuel, something that is precluded by Johannesburg's
In fiscal year 2007 (April 2007-March 2008), the airport served
nearly 4.4 million passengers.
Decommissioning and new airport
move the airport to La Mercy (30 km north of central Durban) were proposed
and shelved numerous times between the 1970s and 2007.
approval for King Shaka International (KSIA) was given in 2007, and construction began in
Scheduled flights from Durban
KSIA is expected to be complete in time for
the 2010 FIFA World Cup
When KSIA is operational, the existing airport will be
decommissioned. Durban International is located on a large parcel
of flat land in the Durban
South Industrial Basin
, which is already home to much of the
city's heavy industry. Given Durban's generally very hilly terrain,
such a large, flat parcel is ideal for future industrial
development, port expansion, or both.
Building KSIA will, it is hoped, stimulate international tourism to
Durban, South Africa's third largest metropolitan area. However,
according to the draft tourism documents prepared for the new
airport's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), no new
international airlines have committed to flying to Durban, even
with a longer runway. The airlines surveyed indicated that there is
not yet sufficient passenger demand for direct long-distance
international flights to the city, and that if such demand existed,
they would already fly to the existing airport, even withouth a
longer runway. Despite this assessment, however, KSIA can be
justified solely in terms of projected passenger growth, almost all
of which will come from domestic routes. The existing airport site
is suitable for expansion, but only at tremendous cost, and is able
only to handle projected growth up to 2035, not beyond.
Airlines and destinations
Accidents and incidents
June 30, 1962, a Douglas DC-4
(registration ZS-BMH) operating a scheduled South African Airways flight from
Johannesburg to Durban collided
with a South African
Air Force Harvard trainer.
The DC-4 made a successful emergency landing with 46 passengers and
5 crew; the Harvard trainer crashed with its crew of two
parachuting to safety. The DC-4 was subsequently repaired.
December 28, 1973, a Douglas DC-3
(registration ZS-DAK) operated by Executive Funds lost both engines
when turning onto final approach and ditched in the Indian Ocean. One passenger drowned out of the 22
passengers and 3 crew.
June 18, 2008, a British Airways
Boeing 737-400 (operated by Comair), operating as Flight 6203 from Johannesburg, skidded off the runway at Durban International
Airport while landing under adverse weather conditions. The
aircraft was reported to have hit a wet patch on the tarmac,
causing it to skid and resulting in the right landing-gear becoming
embedded in the surrounding earth. The incident caused the closure
of the airport for both arrivals and departures for several hours.
All 87 passengers and six crew members escaped without serious
September 24, 2009, Airlink Flight 8911 crashed in the suburb of Merebank shortly after takeoff from Durban
International Airport, injuring its crew of three and one person on
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