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Cape Town welcomes Virgin Atlantic daily flight

Statement by Alderman James Vos, the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.

The announcement that Virgin Atlantic will resume daily flights between London Heathrow and Cape Town International Airport, commencing from October this year, is tremendous and most welcomed.

Connectivity forms part of my departmental strategy to connect Cape Town with key destinations in Africa and globally.

Air Access is an initiative funded in part by the City and our investment and trade agency, Wesgro.

A key driver of growth is the aviation economy and a core outcome of the recently adopted Tourism Development Framework is air connectivity. We are already delivering on this core objective. The priority is to position my portfolio as the growth directorate.

There are a number of key focus areas in the aviation economy. Together with our strategic business partners, my directorate's focus areas include:

Air access to increase the number of flights;

Airport infrastructure - The expansion of Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) to ensure the infrastructure is in place to welcome more flights;

Destination marketing to position Cape Town as a destination of choice for both business and leisure travel; and

Trade and cargo plans to leverage the successes of increased global connections to export goods from Cape Town.

The mandate set out for Air Access is to expand current flight routes and to secure new routes to boost tourism and trade. Since its launch in 2015, this initiative contributed to the success of securing 16 new routes, 22 route expansions and increased the international seat capacity to 1,5 million two-way seats.

This in turn helped the CTIA reach the 10,8 million passenger mark in 2018, adding an estimated R6 billion in direct tourism spending to the economy.

The idea behind boosting direct flights, or route expansions is to create more efficient connections between our city and key source markets, which is crucial if we are to capitalise on global business. At the end of the day, more connections create jobs and deliver trade and tourism opportunities.

Reliable and efficient airport infrastructure forms the backbone of the travel and trade sector. The CTIA has already contributed R4.7 billion to the South African economy and supported over 43 000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

The expansion of the CTIA, costing R7 billion over the next five years, will see the construction of a new realigned runway, the refurbishment of the domestic arrivals terminal and the expansion of the international terminal.

My team at the Enterprise and Investment Department is working with the airport to maximise the benefits of this expansion for local communities.

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 and cargo.

The next step is to grow Cape Town's cargo footprint for export and increase the number of exports from Cape Town.

I would like to congratulate the team at Wesgro for their work to secure this daily flight. I look forward to working with our partners to grow the aviation economy, to increase business and leisure tourism, and connect Cape Town to more countries.

Source: City Of Cape Town

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