Plans to grow Cape air access

Feb 26 2016 12:05
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Cape Town Air Access was officially launched this week.

According to the Western Cape’s official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency Wesgro, the launch will establish Cape Town Air Access as the focal point for international air route development in the Western Cape.

This is because air access is regarded as an important aspect of investment growth in the Western Cape.

It involves the 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 is to promote, develop and maintain air routes into and out of Cape Town International Airport. Ensuring the success of existing routes, increasing frequencies and capacity, and the establishment of new routes form part of the mandate. The team will also facilitate the establishment and initial feasibility study of potential new routes.

On Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in this regard was signed by the relevant parties.

READ: Challenges facing the aviation industry

“The collaboration by all stakeholders has been key to the success of increasing air access in the province and in a very short space of time,” said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris at the launch.

Harris believes air access is a key lever to unlocking greater economic growth in the Western Cape as it stimulates international trade, foreign direct investment and tourism.

“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,” Harris said at the signing of the MOU.

Some examples of past successes include Ethiopian Airlines starting a six times a week direct return flight from Addis Ababa, Turkish Airlines connecting Cape Town to Istanbul on a non-stop daily connection since the end of October and KLM announcing a year-round daily flight from Amsterdam.

Confirmed for 2016 are two additional direct flights by Ethiopian Airlines, the new SA Airlink flight to Maun, Botswana (in March) and additional capacity on the London connection as Thomas Cook will operate three direct flights from Gatwick to Cape Town in the next summer season.

The special team will also focus on developing business cases and negotiating with airlines for non-stop routes to the US, Asia and a number of strategic destinations in the rest of Africa, with some earmarked to take off in the next few months.

ALSO READ: 'Debilitating' skills shortage in SA aviation

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western cape  |  cape town  |  sa economy  |  aviation


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