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SA Express were also keen on flying to Skukuza, but their planes aren't right for the airport. You can fly with SAX from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit, Johannesburg to Nelspruit and Cape Town to Hoedspruit.
Fedair offers a regular charter service to Skukuza Airport, and SA Airlink launched flights to Skukuza on 2 June 2014, making it 4 airports available for flights to the Kruger. Prior to this there were no regular scheduled flights to Skukuza Airport (Kruger National Park). There are also options to fly to Nelspruit or to Hoedspruit with SA Express). Alternatively, book a charter flight to Skukuza with Federal Air (they are also linking up Nelspruit's Kruger Airport with Skukuza).
Skukuza Airport is close to the Kruger Park and its camps, as well as world-renowned Game Lodges.
On the 23rd April 2014 it was announced that Avis Car Hire would be the supplier of car rentals at Skukuza Airport, as well as a shuttle service from the airport to the Skukuza Camp. As you leave the airport you can begin a game drive in an Avis vehicle.
31 July 2014 : Skukuza Airport now has scheduled flights to and from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Previously tourists had to fly to Nelspruit and drive for two hours to Kruger but now they can fly directly into the park by flying into Skukuza. Kruger officials are pleased with this new scheduling as tourists used to complain about the drive in. Skukuza Airport now operates two daily flights from OR Tambo and Cape Town International. These scheduled flights will carry between 37 and 85 passengers daily.
28 February 2014 : Airlink adjusts its planned flight times for return flights from Skukuza to OR Tambo and to Cape Town.
20 February 2014 : Skukuza Airport reopens and Fedair resumes its double-daily flights from OR Tambo to Skukuza.
1 August 2014 : A second daily flight between Johannesburg and Skukuza is launched.
2 June 2014 : SA Airlink launches flights to Skukuza from Cape Town and Johannesburg.
4 November to 13 December 2013 : Skukuza Airport is closed for maintenance work.
17 September 2013 : Airlink makes its flights to Skukuza available for sale on travel agents' Global Reservations Systems.
When SanParks put the development of the new Skukuza Airport up to tender, they required as a minimum flights from Johannesburg to Skukuza, and so they got a bit more with the flights from CPT. In the tender documet SanParks also mentioned the possibility of flights from PE, Durban and Sun City; but those haven't appeared on the radar screen...yet. SanParks specified a max of 5 flights a day & 21 a week (presumably for environment reasons...planes buzzing around isn't quite the wildlife experience tourists paying top dollar have in mind) - initially Airlink are flying 14 flights a week. A restriction SanParks set, presumably for the same reason is that scheduled flights have a window from 10h30 to 13h30 between which they can land & take off (most game viewing takes place in the early morning and late afternoon). Charter flight have a slighly bigger window, being allowed to take off and land from 09h00 to 15h00.
Cape Town flights to Skukuza with Airlink are numbered SA8651, and are scheduled to leave CPT at 10h35 every day and arrive in Skukuza at 13h05 (a 2 and a half hour flight). The plane being used is an Embraer ERJ-135.
The return flights from Skukuza to Cape Town is scheduled to leave at 11h30
Daily flights are from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport.
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat & Sun : SA Airlink Flight SA8661 is scheduled to leave JNB at 10h00 and land in Skukuza at 10h50. The plane being used is an Embraer ERJ-135. A second flight SA8663 is scheduled to leave JNB at 13h20 and land in Skukuza at 14h10.
The return flight, SA8662, from Skukuza to Johannesburg is scheduled to leave at 13h30. Flight SA8664 is scheduled to leave SZK at 14h35 and land in JNB at 15h50.
“In terms of the arrangement, Airlink will provide daily scheduled airline services linking Skukuza with Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, and via these hubs and our partnership with South African Airways, together with it’s the Star Alliance carrier’s global networks, to the rest of the world. Lion Sands will provide hospitality and retail services at the Skukuza airport and Federal Air will supply feeder and charter services carrying passengers between Skukuza and the game lodges in the region. Federal will also provide links from Skukuza to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to feed our onward flights to Livingstone in Zambia and Vilanculos in Mozambique. The opportunity to link Skukuza synergistically with Airlink’s other destinations in Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique will allow for very exciting African safari opportunities, a feature which our travel industry colleagues are extremely excited about” said the Chief Executive of Airlink, Rodger Foster (in August 2013)
Dr. Mabunda, the Chief Executive of SANParks said in September 2013 that "SANParks' long haul clients and those from major centres will no longer be subjected to a 1-2 hrs journey on poorly maintained roads from Nelspruit to the Kruger National Park. We are reliving a tradition that started in 1959 to enhance visitor convenience and experience. I look forward to working with our new partners in taking the business of managing national parks assets to another level."
Skukuza Airport (SZK) is to be managed jointly by SA Airlink, Federal Air and Lion Sands via the Skukuza Airport Management Company which they formed. The Skukuza Airport Management Company has been appointed to operate Skukuza Airport, and from 1 September 2013 will start upgrading it, rehabilitating its 1500m long runway, improving the terminal building & navigational procedures. After the upgrades are completed, approval will be required from South Africa's CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), and in return for their efforts the Skukuza Airport Management Company may charge airport taxes and landing fees (there was mention in the SanParks tender that the airport wont be permitted to charge landing fees & airport taxes a lot higher than that charged at similar airports). Once in operation, retail & hospitality services will be provided by Lion Sands. Federal Air will also provide links from Skukuza Airport. Skukuza Airport will then change from being a category 2 airport according to the International Civil Aviation Authority's ranking system, to being a category 5 airport. The Skukuza Airport Management Company will also have to erect wind sockets and supply security & fire fighting equipment.
Skukuza Airport, in fact, used to be a category 5 airport up to 2000, with Airlink operating flights to the Kruger's Skukuza Airport from Sun City, and from Johannesburg to Skukuza, and there being plans to extend the runway to allow for flights from Cape Town to Skukuza (permission was never granted to extend the runway, and it isn't part of the 2013 improvements either): Skukuza Airport had previously been operated by SanParks, who closed it due to flood damage in 2000, and the airport's commercial license was terminated on 16 Jan 2001 due to the Licence Conditions not being complied with. In March 2001 SanParks agreed with PAM (a company established by Dutch company ABB Equity Ventures B.V.) not to reopen Skukuza Airport to a certain category of commercial flights, so as to make PAM's plans to build the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport viable. In an MoU SanParks agreed with PAM to downgrade Skukuza Airport from a public airport to being a private airport for charter flights in September 2002. PAM agreed to pay SanParks R5m to make up for any financial loss it might suffer. This was found by the Competition Tribunal to be in contravention of Competition Law, and it was agreed that PAM pay a R2m penalty (Sanparks, having been the party which approached the Commission, was granted immunity from prosecution). See Skukuza - Kruger Competition Case.
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