The South African air travel market has grown through the years with four low cost airlines currently offering cheap flights in South Africa. These airlines include Mango Airlines (operated by the national carrier SAA), Kulula Airways, 1Time Airlines and Velvet Sky Aviation, the new comer to the industry.
Travellers wishing to travel between the three major destinations in South Africa, namely Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town can choose from a number of flights available from these airlines daily between these destinations. There are on average 100 flights scheduled between Cape Town International Airport and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo on offer from Kulula.com, 1Time Airlines, Mango Airlines and Velvet Sky Aviation along with British Airways and South African Airways, and 90 scheduled flights between OR Tambo and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. British Airways and South African Airways offer a choice of business and economy class seats.
South African Airways, British Airways, SA Express and SA Airlink offer both economy or business class tickets with access to VIP and business class lounges as well as complimentary in-flight snacks and beverages. The single class flights offered by Kulula, Mango, Velvet Sky and 1Time do not include in-flight snacks and beverages but do offer buy-on-board options for passengers.
All the airlines offering cheap flights in South Africa offer online booking facilities and a number of them provide different payment options for travellers such as EFT payments, e-bucks and payments at money market counters at Shoprite and Checkers stores.
With the increase in popularity of Lanseria Airport for business travel due to its proximity to the business hub of Sandton, Pretoria, the West Rand and Midrand regions of Johannesburg, travellers can now make use of around 13 scheduled flights per day between Lanseria Airport and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport and between Cape Town International Airport and Lanseria offered by Kulula Airways and Mango Airlines with departures and arrivals scheduled to suit business travel.
Travellers wishing to travel to the outlying destinations do not have as much choice in flights as with the three major destinations. There are on average 10 scheduled daily flights between Johannesburg International Airport, Durban’s King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport and the outlying destinations such as Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, East London and George and around 4 scheduled flights between further areas such as Hoedspruit, Kimberley, Polokwane, Upington and Palaborwa.
The outlying areas do not all fall into scheduled routes from the airports at Durban and Cape Town and are often only serviced from Johannesburg International Airport further limiting passengers wishing to travel to these destinations. Passengers will need to make use of connecting flights between the destinations to enable them to travel these routes. These flights are also scheduled on specific days and not available on a daily basis between these destinations due to the lack of demand.
Flights to Johannesburg from the other two major destinations: Cape Town and Durban take an average of around 2hrs. Check in times for domestic flights opening 1 hour prior to boarding and closing 30 minutes prior to boarding. Many of the airlines also offer online check in facilities as further convenience for their passengers to avoid delays.