Johannesburg - The City of Cape Town expressed its disappointment on
Thursday with SA Airways' decision to end direct flights between London
and Cape Town after August 15.
In an open letter to SAA chairperson Cheryl Carolus and
CEO Siza Mzimela, tourism spokesperson Grant Pascoe said: "Our very real
concern is that this decision will have a negative impact on the tourism
industry in Cape Town.
"This is an industry which injects R14.6bn per year into Cape Town's GDP (gross domestic product)."
SAA would cease the direct flights so it could
redeploy its aircraft to routes with increasing demand, said general
manager (commercial) Theunis Potgieter on Tuesday.
He said passengers flying from London to Cape Town would from August 16 be flying via Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport.
It is estimated 300 000 people are permanently employed in the tourism industry within the municipality, said Pascoe.
"We believe it would be a better option to initially
downscale the operation if it is indeed financially unviable, and
possibly negotiate the transfer of slots with other airlines."
Pascoe said the redirecting of flights seemed
short-sighted, as the British market still represents significant value
to Cape Town.
He appealed to Carolus to reconsider the decision to save much-needed jobs within the municipality.