South Africa has granted Qatar Airways’ request to add more frequencies, which will play a key role in Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from November 20 to December 18.
This was announced on Sunday by South African Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula during a meeting with HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti. Both officials discussed Qatar-South Africa co-operation in transportation, civil aviation, and ports, among other topics.
During the meeting, Mbalula said both countries have worked together over the last few years to strengthen the footprint of Qatar Airways in the southern Africa region. This led to “progressively increased frequencies” resulting in 28 passenger flights per week and 10 flights for all cargo per week, which, according to Mbalula, “bears testimony to the strong co-operation between our two countries.”
“In preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and further increasing the footprint of Qatar Airways, we have received a request to increase these frequencies. I am pleased to inform you, Your Excellency, that we have taken the view to support Qatar Airways’ optimised schedule for the FIFA World Cup and grant the required frequencies to enable you to host a successful World Cup.
“However, the implementation of this optimised schedule should be undertaken in a manner that supports our local airlines and contributes to the growth of the industry in the region. The long-term arrangements post the FIFA World Cup in relation to these frequencies are being considered through our internal processes. This process will be finalised through engagements with our respective officials. This request has been on the table since 2016 and I, therefore, commit that this process will be concluded by the end of October 2022,” Mbalula informed his Qatari counterpart.
Mbalula also underscored the importance of forging Qatar-South Africa partnerships to spur faster recovery of the transport sector, especially in the field of aviation, which took a huge toll at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Recovery of [the transport] sector, particularly aviation, requires new partnerships that not only enable faster recovery, but also give expression to the new economy premised on creating opportunities for investment, employment, and skills development.
“Investments in transport infrastructure in road, rail, aviation, and maritime sectors represent the best opportunity to leapfrog the economic slump we are all struggling to recover from,” Mbalula further explained to al-Sulaiti.
Mbalula also said his country “is indeed open for business,” emphasising that South Africa sees Qatar as a strategic partner in economic growth and jobs creation, “but will unlock critical investments that will give practical expression to economic recovery.”
“Our economic recovery plans place emphasis on massive investments in rail, road, maritime, and aviation infrastructure. We see aviation as a catalyst that will unlock the potential of the sector as an enabler of economic activity.
“The development and growth of South Africa’s aviation sector are anchored on our integrated development that will be delivered through investment in the concept of aerotropolis in our major economic hubs, amongst others. This requires seamless integration of airport infrastructure as a foundation for economic activity delivered through special economic zones and other forms of economic activity,” Mbalula stressed.

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