Life’s a beach. Just one of the attractions waiting for passengers getting off the inaugural Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Durban is the Golden Mile Beach close to downtown. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker was keen to get his Speedos on and get down there after the VIP reception at the airport.

Qatar Airways launched a new service between Doha (DOH) and Durban (DUR), operating via its existing route to Johannesburg, on 17 December. The four times weekly 787-8 service to the host city for World Routes in 2015 further complements the airline’s existing daily flights to Cape Town and double-daily flights to Johannesburg. “Qatar is one of South Africa’s largest trading partners in the Middle East and we are proud to strengthen this business relationship with the launch of our new route connecting Durban directly to Doha.

With its excellent aviation infrastructure and the development of the Dube TradePort, we expect the number of business and employment opportunities in Durban to increase,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. No other airline operates this city pair, although fellow MEB3 airline Emirates does also fly to the South African city from its Dubai hub.