Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Doha’s Qatar Airways have both taken steps to increase the frequency and variety of flights to South Africa, as the transit of business and leisure travellers between the Gulf region and the resourceful BRICS nation continue to go.

Etihad has a new daily schedule that it says will “significantly boost” weekly flights between Johannesburg and some of the top locations in Asia – a strategic set of routes where Gulf carriers have recently been exerting significant pressure on South Africa’s national carrier.

“The new schedule means that we are now able to provide daily departures, ensuring our business and leisure travellers benefit from greater connectivity and flexibility when flying between South Africa and the UAE,” Xenia Adamou, GM for Etihad Airways in South Africa.

Qatar Airways is meanwhile adding a non-stop route to Cape Town for the first time, adding the flight to a previously thrice-weekly service that served the destination via Johannesburg.

“Cape Town has long been one of the most popular destinations with passengers, and we are now able to provide our customers with quicker and more convenient connections to one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” noted Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.

All Qatar Airways flights are now passing through the Hamad International Airport in Doha, which opened at the beginning of this year, and is believed to have cost an estimated $17bn.

Flydubai also recently announced three new East African routes, while Emirates Airline revealed a partnership with Nigeria’s Arik Air to widen its access to West Africa.

These developments have stood out against an otherwise pessimistic backdrop as airlines, initially Emirates and Arik Air but quickly most others, cut flights to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in response to the Ebola outbreak, while yet others also cut flights to Kenya and West Africa.

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