Increased direct flights to and from Cape Town on the cards

2016-02-26 07:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Any globally competitive city knows that direct flight route access is a definitive part of the travel planning process for most travellers - especially those seeking convenience as they explore the world's most sought-after destinations. 

In response, Wesgro has officially launched Cape Town Air Access - aimed at international air route development in the Western Cape, said to be a collaboration between the Western Cape Provincial Government, the City of Cape Town, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), Cape Town Tourism, Wesgro and the private sector.

The primary mandate of the air access team will be to promote, develop and maintain air routes in and out of Cape Town International Airport through ensuring the success of existing routes, increasing frequencies and capacity and new route establishment.

“By targeting strategic markets via the development of key air routes we can stimulate trade and investments that will make the Western Cape an even more competitive business location,” said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris at the launch.

The body has been working together since 2015 to link Cape Town to major global hubs, with strong onward connectivity to Europe, North America, Asia and India. Success to date include:

- 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 from 1 February.

- Turkish Airlines connects Cape Town to Istanbul on a non-stop daily connection since the end of October 2015

- KLM to increase its frequencies to a year-round daily flight from Amsterdam 

- SA Airlink flight to Maun Botswana – 5 flights a week, which starts on 11 March

-  Thomas Cook will operate 3 direct flights from Gatwick to Cape Town with an Airbus 330 in the next summer season.

"Furthermore, the team is focused on developing the business cases and negotiating with airlines for non-stop routes to the USA, Asia and a number of strategic destinations in the rest of Africa with some earmarked to be announced to take off in the next few months,"Harris said.

"The signing of an MOU between the public stakeholders and the presence of Minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde and Mayor Patricia De Lille as well as Deon Cloete, General Manager of the Cape Town International Airport are indicative of the level of support and shows the important role which air access plays to the growth of investment in our province.