Twelve months of deliberations and negotiations between Comair Limited and Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency about Mpumalanga having a tourism airlift, has resulted in an agreement which will see Comair Limited flying at least six (6) flights per week into the province. The inaugural flight landed at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) on 4 May 2010, with the assistance of MEC JL Mahlangu who was the guest co – pilot.
Amongst the dignitaries who boarded the inaugural flight were Mbombela Executive Mayor - Councillor Lassy Chiwayo, Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislatiure - Mr Sipho Lubisi, MEC for finance - Ms Pinkie Phosa and Chairperson of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) Board - Mr Sabelo Mahlalela.
Speaking at the launch, MEC Mahlangu said “For the first time in the history of aviation in our province, customers would be able to fly business class, therefore, increasing the number of people visiting our province by air, ” added MEC Mahlangu.
Mr Charles Ndabeni CEO of the MTPA and Mr. Sabelo Mahlalela, Chairperson of the Board were showered with praises for spearheading the negotiations.
“I believe God came to Mpumalanga to rest on the seventh day. There is no better tourism destination in South Africa than Mpumalanga,” said Mr Ndabeni.
Comair Limited, operator of British airways has partnered with the MTPA to expand its domestic route network to include Mpumalanga, targeting both business and leisure travelers. The partnership will also deliver much needed competition and additional capacity on the route between Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
This deal has made flying to the province affordable with economy class tickets costing from R700 a ticket and business class tickets costing from R1500.