Direct flight between US and Cape Town on the cards - Wesgro

2016-06-06 07:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Cape Town Air Access (CTAA), a division of WESGRO, says it has prioritised the landing of a non-stop flight between the United States and Cape Town International.

Western Cape tourism and business leaders with strong connections to the USA, specifically Florida, have indicated that connectivity is aimed at Miami, the 4th largest economy in the United States and with over 19m residents - but the airline to operate this route has yet to be confirmed.

CTAA says the business case for a route to the United States is strong, "given that the US is the Cape's third largest tourism source market (200 000 arrivals in 2015), and its fifth largest buyer of Western Cape products, and largest foreign direct investor."

Brett Omdahl from the US Commercial Service confirmed that American businesses have shown strong investment numbers for the region and a direct flight would drive exponential growth. Abigail Ellary from Enterprise Florida conveyed strong support for such a route as CTAA says there is a strong alignment between the Cape and Florida, as both act as gateways to emerging markets - Florida to Latin America, and the Western Cape to the rest of Africa.

Enterprise Florida would also provide generous support and incentives to any airline willing to take up this direct route, according to Wesgro

Tim Harris, CEO of WESGRO, asked Western Cape businesses to help land this route by assisting with lobbying, sharing data to support the business case, or giving insights into US marketing plans. Harris highlighted that WESGRO is leading a more collaborative and open approach to connecting the Cape to priority markets like the USA. 

However the US has just issued a terror alert for South Africa, warning of "terror attacks by Islamic militants on Americans in South Africa".

Clayson Manyela, International Relations spokesperson has hit out at the US embassy on Twitter, saying its terror alerts caused "panic".

US Embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey says, "Protection of US citizens overseas is among our top priorities. When we receive specific, credible, non-counterable threat information, it is our worldwide policy for US embassies and consulates to share the information. We are co-operating with local authorities, as we do in any investigation into terrorist threats around the world." Read the twar over the alert as reported by News24 here

Since inception last year, CTAA says it has managed to add an additional 400 000 two-way seats to Cape Town, adding to the 9.4m arrivals in 2015, with airlines that have increased capacity to Cape Town International through the partnership with Air Access are at 80% - 90% capacity.

Increased capacity sees Air France KLM operating daily flights between Amsterdam and Cape Town all year round from May 2016, Kenyan Airways is set to operate a thrice weekly flight between Nairobi and Cape Town from July 2016, British Airways is set to launch three direct flights from Gatwick to Cape Town, starting 24 November. 

Ethiopian Airlines started a six times a week direct return flight from Addis Ababa, plus two additional direct flights by Ethiopian Airlines on a 787-8 in February and Turkish Airlines connects Cape Town to Istanbul on a non-stop daily connection since the end of October 2015. SA Airlink flies to Maun, Botswana  5 times a week since 11 March and Lufthansa is set to start a direct service between Cape Town and Frankfurt from 2 December, set to operate three-times a week for the 2017 summer season.

What to read next on Traveller24:

Airbnb helping Capetonians open up more - Wesgro

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