South African private–sector regional airline Airlink announced on Monday that it was restarting operations linking Nelspruit’s Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and Skukuza Airport to three safari lodge airstrips, situated at Arathusa, Londolozi and Phinda Private Game Reserve. These are three destinations popular with tourists.
The flights will link seamlessly with Airlink’s Johannesburg-KMIA and Johannesburg-Skukuza services. They will also connect with the airline’s Johannesburg-Cape Town operations and its regional Nelspruit-Livingstone (Zambia) service.
The airstrip at Arathusa also serves adjacent safari lodges, including Cheetah Plains, Chitwa Chitwa, Djuma, Elephant Plains, Jaci’s Sabi House, Nkortho, Silvan Safaris and Simbambili. Likewise the Phinda airstrip gives access to the Thanda Private Game Reserve, Rhino Ridge, and a number of other lodges in the vicinity.
“With more local and regional travellers looking for mini-safari getaways, we recognise that every minute spent relaxing at your destination is precious,” said Airlink CEO and MD Rodger Foster. “Airlink’s Lodge Link service provides a unique 20 minute airside transfer for quick and easy access to the doorstep of your luxury private game lodge, minimising lengthy road transfers.”
The flights will be operated by Airlink’s fleet of modern single-engine high-wing Cessna Caravan turboprop aircraft. Each carries two pilots and up to 12 passengers.
There will be morning flights from Arathusa to Nelspruit KMIA, via Londolozi and Skukuza, and from Phinda to Nelspruit KMIA. The afternoon will see flights from Nelspruit KMIA to Arathusa via Londolozi, and from Nelspruit KMIA to Phinda.