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Big changes set with a direct flight between Cape Town and the United States

The sixth-busiest airport in the United States, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, will soon be introducing the first non-stop route to Cape Town International.
Big changes set with a direct flight between Cape Town and the United States

Sthembiso Dlamini The Acting CEO of South African Tourism, commented on the announcement by saying that there has been consistent year-on-year growth in arrivals from the United States to South Africa “solidifying its position as a key market, not only for the Western Cape but for South Africa as a whole.”

The flights will be operated by United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft which will have 48 seats in business class, 88 seats in Economy Plus class, and 116 seats in Economy.

Massive tourism and investment boost

The new route is set to boost tourism and direct foreign investments into South Africa and particularly the Western Cape from North America. New Jersey is also close to one of the world’s largest business and cultural hubs, New York which is located approximately 25km from Newark International.

“We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Africa to our global route offering. This new flight will provide customers with the only nonstop service between the United States and Cape Town,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network.

Cape Town tourism and trade investment group Wesgro said that that the direct link between North America and the Western Cape will carry “an estimated 24,000 passengers, which was 20% of the 2018 market.” This potentially means a R283-million boost in direct tourism to the Cape economy in just one year of the route operating.

“North America was one of the largest unserved markets for Cape Town and the Western Cape, with the USA, ranked as the third-largest market for inbound passengers to Cape Town International Airport in 2017,” said Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO.

“Between January 2003 and February 2017, a total of 76 Foreign Direct Investment projects were recorded from the United States to the Western Cape amounting to a total capital investment of USD1.9bn. During this period, a total of 7,510 jobs were created.”

Exciting news for Cape Town

James Vos the Mayoral Committee member for Economic Affairs for the City of Cape Town said in an interview with 567 Cape Talk that the City of Cape Town has also entered a tourism partnership with the City of New York and that the North American market is one of the largest unserved markets for Cape Town.

Vos said that the City of Cape Town has been working on this with the Access Initiative, part of the Wesgro Trade and Promotion Agency. “This will certainly increase connectivity... It is a wonderful achievement and will really open up this market.”

The only non-stop flight between the United States and Cape Town is set to be introduced in December 2019.

Dlamini commented that “adding a direct connection to Cape Town will improve connectivity to the region and allow visitors to experience South Africa from a new viewpoint. With North America identified by SA Tourism for enhanced focus for the coming year, the United Airlines direct route from New York to Cape Town is great news.”

In addition to the new direct USA flights, Cape Town’s Tourism will receive a boost through a massive upgrade approved for Cape Town International Airport.

The upgrade will see the expansion of the international terminal as well as refurbishment of the airport’s arrivals terminal for Domestic Flights South Africa. A realigned runway worth just under R4bn will allow the handling of new, heavier aircraft as well as increase the per hour landing and departures from the current to 30, up to 45.

These key infrastructure projects are planned for development over next five years.


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7 May 2019 10:59