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International seat capacity for upcoming summer season set to surge by impressive 25%

Cape Town Air Access – powered by Wesgro – held their 6th Annual Review showcase on Tuesday 12 September. Reflecting on the significant achievements and milestones reached over the last year, the event was attended by airlines, Western Cape government partners, and business stakeholders.

Spotlighting plans in the pipeline to continue to build on the project’s successes, amongst the evening’s highlights was the unveiling of the international capacity forecast for the upcoming summer season. Data reveals that international seat capacity for the upcoming peak season (November 2023 – March 2024) is set to surge by an impressive 25%, and reach over one million international inbound seats when compared to the same period in 2022/23 – a record for the project to date.

Ensuring season readiness, Mark Maclean, Regional General Manager for Cape Town International Airport, commented: “We are aware of the expected increase in capacity for the upcoming season, and as such we are preparing ourselves to face any potential challenges that may arise with this anticipated surge. The ACSA team at Cape Town International Airport are dedicated to ensuring a smooth and successful summer season and as always, our top priorities remain the safety and satisfaction of every passenger passing through our world-class airport.”

Reflecting on wins from the past year, the project managed to secure a total of seven high-profile airlines and seven new routes added to Cape Town’s international route network – including three intercontinental carriers (Air Belgium, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic) – since September 2022.

Increasing connection to key tourism, trade, and investment markets, the team highlighted two additional destinations added to the United States staple – with  Atlanta (operated by Delta Airlines), and Washington DC (operated by United Airlines), secured by the Air Access team in 2022.

Following several years of negotiations, the team reminded attendees of the inaugural intercontinental flight connecting Cape Town to São Paulo, with South African Airways’ commencing with two weekly flights from end of next month, 31 October. The securing of this direct route is significant, as São Paulo has long been the highest unserved market for Cape Town, and the flight on 31 October marks the return of South African Airways to the destination following an 11 year international absence.

Other notable expansions included Airlink adding Maputo to its network – a route that has significantly amplified the carrier’s regional connectivity to Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Continuing to build on Cape Town’s positioning as the gateway to the rest of the continent, the team secured two new African routes this year – Eswatini Air’s Manzini-Cape Town route, as well as Proflight Zambia’s Lusaka-Cape Town flight, in June and July respectively.

Building on this momentum, the team announced the securing of LAM – Mozambique Airlines’ maiden flight between Maputo and Cape Town, commencing on 15 October with three weekly flights.

Leading the evening’s proceeding’s, Wrenelle Stander, CEO of Wesgro and the Official Spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access, said: “These impressive figures are testament to the relentless efforts of the Cape Town Air Access team to propel Cape Town and the Western Cape towards a successful post-pandemic growth that exceeds historical benchmarks. The introduction of new carriers has fortified our connectivity to vital source markets in America and Europe, while the emerging growth in African and South American markets signals their increasing significance in our future tourism and business landscape. The Cape Town Air Access team remains resolute in its commitment to enhancing connectivity and accessibility for travellers, and looks forward to another year of remarkable progress and growth.”

“It really is such a pleasure to celebrate the incredible increase in the number of flights and new destinations secured by the Air Access team, powered by Wesgro. In just one year, since September 2022, this impressive team has secured seven new destinations across four continents. The contribution these connections make to inclusive economic growth and job creation in the province, cannot be underestimated. As my mantra goes, more tourists mean more jobs. We are more determined than ever to attract more visitors to our amazing destination, and through our ambitious new economic action plan, ‘Growth For Jobs’ we aim to double the number of visitors to the Western Cape, so we can lift many more people out of poverty and into prosperity”, commented Mireille Wenger, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, including Tourism.

“We are expecting by December this year about 31 000 passengers per day travelling through Cape Town International Airport, and approximately 200 international flights landing every week. These performances don’t happen by itself, it’s by design. We are working around the clock on clever campaigns and city to city agreements backed up with conversion to attract more visitors and investors to our shores. This is precisely the reason why the City of Cape Town via my department is a proud funder and contributor of the Air Access Programme. For me personally I enjoy participating in those engagements with airlines and sitting down with their route planners to make a case for them to fly to Cape Town”, concluded Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

Source: Wesgro

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