Cape Town - Increasing air access to a country boosts its economy through improving travel and trade opportunities and creating employment in the tourism and trade industries.
This has certainly been the case in the Mother City, as Cape Town Air Access celebrated its success in assisting Cape Town International Airport achieve a 20% growth of international passengers and 53% increase in international cargo in 2017.
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Cape Town Air Access - a partnership between Wesgro, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Airports Company South Africa, Cape Town Tourism and Southern African Tourism - aims to add additional routes to Cape Town International Airport.
Since its inception in 2015, the initiative has gained 13 new routes, and 14 route expansions, increasing capacity to Cape Town by more than 1.5 million seats in both directions.
A meeting was held on Wednesday, 28 February to celebrate these achievements for 2017, and for the programme to share its outlook for 2018.
New records achieved
According to Wesgro, a new record has been achieved at CT International Airport due to a 20% year-on-year increase in international passengers.
"According to data received from Airports Company South Africa, Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) has recorded a total of 10.7 million domestic and international passengers in 2017. This represents a 6% increase from 2016," says Wesgro, adding that in 2016, 1 990 621 international passengers were recorded at CTIA while in 2017, this "increased to a record" 2 391 163 international passengers.
Deon Cloete, General Manager of CTIA says, “This certainly positions us well in triggering the investment programme that will be undertaken in the near future.
"Although we aim to complete significant projects such as the Realignment of the Runway, Terminal 2 and the New Domestic Arrivals area. There are smaller projects that will be embarked on too, such as apron stands, parkade reconfigurations, fuel tanks and more.”
He adds that despite the pressure due to increased flights, CTIA ensures minimal disruptions for the passenger. "We created various experiences to ensure that the passengers’ journey through our airport is pleasurable, as this is our priority,” he adds.
SEE: #AfriTravel: New flight routes shaping your options across the continent
The outlook for 2018 is already taking off at high speed as Wesgro’s CEO, Tim Harris says over 100 000 seats have been added since January 2018.
"Since beginning of 2018, we have added enough capacity into Cape Town to fill Cape Town Stadium, TWICE!" Wesgro shared on Twitter.
Air connectivity enabling the economy
City's Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille says that despite the country facing tough economic challenges, "Air Access shows how we can deliver on our goals to increase economic activity if all three spheres of government and the private sector work together".
According to de Lille, in 2017, the number of arrivals of international terminal passengers increased to 2.4 million, international airline seating capacity has almost doubled with over 1.5 million seats being added to the network, while domestic cargo grew by a 17% increase.
"Air connectivity is undoubtedly a key enabler of our economy," says de Lille, adding that the City of Cape Town contributes more than R1 million to Cape Town Air Access.
"The current Air Access efforts have given rise to an estimated 800 000 extra seats on routes flying directly to Cape Town," says de Lille, adding that she is looking forward to seeing how Cape Town Air Access will take advantage of the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market.
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"While we are welcoming more visitors and making it easier for businesses and investors to travel to Cape Town, the City is proactively working to create an opportunity city that attracts investment, enables inclusive growth and job creation," she adds.
SA's new flight routes and expansions
Air Access is boosting #AfriTravel with the addition of flights and seating between African cities such as Angola, Kenya, Rwanda and Mauritius.
Internationally, French airline Joon will fly directly to Cape Town, while Cathay Pacific is introducing a direct flight from Hong Kong and Singapore Airlines has also added flights from the Mother City.
See the map below for SA's new flight routes and expansions to take advantage of this year.
Zoom in and hover over the destination for flight details.
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