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Lufthansa pleased with business uptake of more direct Cape Town flights

Oct 17 2017 20:52
Carin Smith

At the latest Cape Town flights announcement were (from left) Tim Harris (Wesgro), Matthias Hansen (German consul), Jo-Ann Strauss, André Schulz (Lufthansa), Alan Winde (Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities) (Pic: Carin Smith)

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Cape Town - The business potential of outbound traffic from Cape Town on Lufthansa's direct flights, especially during South Africa's winter months, is forming a good complement to the inbound tourist focus during the summer season, Dr André Schulz, group manager of Lufthansa for southern Africa, told Fin24.

He said the Austrians and Swiss are increasingly realising the value for money to be had in the Cape.

Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that, as of October 29 2017, it will fly from Frankfurt to Cape Town five times a week and from November 27 2017 Edelweiss will fly from Zurich to Cape Town three times a week.

From from October 27 2018 Austrian Airlines will be flying twice a week from Vienna to Cape Town.

The Western Cape tourism and investment promotion agency (Wesgro) said these developments come as a result of extensive lobbying done by the Cape Town Air Access team, a collaboration between the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, Airports Company of South Africa and Cape Town Tourism.

It is mandated to improve international air route development in the Cape through joint marketing and networking opportunities.

According to Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, the air access collaboration is unique, not only in terms of the involvement of all three spheres of government, but also due to involvement of the private sector.

"We have a solid pipeline into 2018. We want to make Cape Town a priority hub and at the rate it is growing now, Cape Town International Airport could be the same size as OR Tambo in about 6 years's time," said Harris.

He regards the direct connections to Vienna, Zurich, Frankfurt and Munich as of strategic importance. Germany is currently the second biggest source market for inbound passengers to Cape Town with 170 000 German tourists visiting every year. Austria and Switzerland are now in the top 20 source markets for the Mother City.

Harris said the continued expansion of Lufthansa Group flights to Cape Town is a vote of confidence in the Western Cape and Cape Town and will aid in meeting the growing demands of tourists and business travellers seen from the region.
 
"Today’s launch shows that the hard work done by the Cape Town Air Access team is reaping ongoing rewards for Cape Town and the Western Cape,” said Harris.

Cape Town International Airport was recently voted Africa’s leading airport at the 2017 World Travel Awards Africa.

Deon Cloete, general manager of the Cape Town International Airport, told Fin24 that obtaining direct flights to Cape Town from North America and the Far East is a priority. Especially North American direct flights would be a welcome addition, in his view, since the North American market is not seasonal bound.

"Our air access team is highly informed and we do a lot of research before we approach airlines. We can speak airline language," he said.

Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, added this is an investment we celebrate because it will create new tourism jobs in our economy.

"In the upcoming summer season, we are scheduled to see an additional 130 000 international seats flying to our destination, due to the commitment of airlines from all parts of the world to start operating new routes direct to Cape Town, or to expand their current flight schedules," said Winde.

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