Virgin Atlantic announced in early February that it would be reintroducing its seasonal service and adding over 80,000 seats in flights between Cape Town and London during the high season. The new flight will commence from 25 October 2020 and run throughout November, December, and into January. An official concluding date for the service has yet to be revealed to the public.
Travellers interested in taking advantage of the additional flights were able to start booking their flights to Cape Town and London from 18 February 2020. According to the airline’s representatives, the seasonal daily service will operate in conjunction with the already-existing A350 daily flight which operates between London, Heathrow Airport and Johannesburg, OR Tambo International Airport.
The new flight, VS478, will be on board the Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and will leave Heathrow Airport at 16h20, landing in Cape Town International Airport the following morning at 05h55. The return flight will depart Cape Town International Airport at 08h00 the same day and land in Heathrow Airport at 18h00.
“The daily service will not only enhance a vital link between Cape Town and the UK’s capital, but it also provides seamless connections via Heathrow to Europe and North America,” commented Liezl Gericke, Head of Africa, Middle East and India at Virgin Atlantic.
The South African public in general is thrilled at the prospect of the additional flight, with Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, celebrating alongside them.
“The United Kingdom is one of our key tourist source markets and we believe that an additional direct flight from this market will hugely contribute toward us reaching our goal of 21 million tourists by 2030,” she said.
Synchronisation with infrastructure investment plans at Cape Town International Airport
The Cape Town tourism and economic sector has acknowledged that efficient and consistently reliable infrastructure is key to maximising travel and trade within South Africa. This is the main reason why the sector is currently geared towards improving and investing in Cape Town International Airport’s infrastructure, in particular.
“Connectivity forms part of our departmental strategy to connect Cape Town with key destinations in Africa and globally,” commented James Vos, City of Cape Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.
The news of the added Virgin Atlantic flight between Cape Town and London has, therefore, come at an opportune time.
A breakdown of the investment plans
The investment plans include designing and building a new realigned runway, along with upgrading and maintaining the airport’s terminal for domestic arrivals. Vos also highlights that there will be an especially strong focus on expanding the international terminal.
“This investment will allow the airport to increase the flight capacity from 30 take-offs and landings per hour to 45. This will provide the perfect opportunity to secure yet more direct connections for passengers,” he explained.
Undoubtedly, the direct Virgin Atlantic flight between Cape Town and London is a great place to start.