Federal Air flights between Pietermaritzburg’s Oribi Airport and Ulundi’s Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport commence on 28 March 2012. The road infrastructure within Ulundi is limited, and the travel time to drive from Ulundi to Pietermaritzburg makes flying an attractive option. Federal Air operates 4 flights per day from Monday to Friday.
“We are excited to extend our shuttle service offering to include the Ulundi – Pietermaritzburg route. We foresee that the upgraded Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport will provide the launch pad for an increase in development, travel and tourism into the region. It is a vital initiative and we are committed to meet the demands of travellers to and from the region, with a travel experience that is seamless.” said the managing director of Federal Air, Troy Reiser.
After the Zululand District Municipality called for a preferred airline operating between Ulundi & Pietermaritzburg, interest was shown by several airlines. Following a 3-way bidding process, in October 2011 the Zululand District Municipality named Federal Air as the preferred airline for the Ulundi - Pietermaritzburg flight route, the proposal is that it should operated daily scheduled flights from early 2012. It's expected that it will largely be corporate and government officials flying the route (they currently travel by road).
The Federal Air flight will take between 35 and 40 minute using a 12-seater Caravan.
In Oct 2011 Ina Cronjé, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, a R30m infrastructural grant to modernise the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airpor. Upgrades will include remodelling the arrivals lounge & terminal building, equipping Oribi to allow flights in all weather, installation of navigational instruments, resurfacing the runway and updating rescue and fire equipment. Oribi airport can now accommodate Boeing 737 aircraft.
The airport is located a kilometre south-west of Ulundi, and is in close proximity to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, the Emakhosini Opathe Heritage Park and important Zulu cultural-historic attractions.
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