Direct Cape Town to Heathrow Flights Resume in Summer Season 2013
Virgin Atlantic is set to resume direct flights between Cape Town and London.
The international carrier will also add a new, larger Airbus to the route, creating 5 000 extra seats.
This new Airbus A340-600 and the direct flights start operating on 27 October.
Western Cape Minister of Tourism, Alan Winde, was thrilled by the timely announcement, made shortly before the start of Tourism Month: “This increased capacity on the direct route between London and Cape Town will create a huge boost for the Western Cape economy. It will also create additional competition, which could reduce flight costs for consumers.”
Virgin Atlantic has flights from Johannesburg to London throughout the year and from Cape Town to London from October to March, during Cape Town and the Western Cape’s best weather and holidaying period for tourists. In 2012, 375 697 visitors travelled between Cape Town and the United Kingdom.
Said Winde: “Our destination has experienced a surge in popularity among UK visitors. In 2012, 17 000 readers of the Telegraph, which is one of the UK’s most popular newspapers, voted Cape Town as their favourite worldwide city and South Africa as their third favourite worldwide country, reflecting increased consumer confidence in our region as a holiday destination.”
Initially, Virgin Atlantic will fly between Cape Town and London four times a week, building up to daily flights during the peak traveling period.
British Airways is the only other airline that has direct flights between London and Cape Town.
There are also direct international flights between Cape Town International Airport and Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Mauritius and Namibia. Winde said that the power of direct flights is clearly demonstrated by visitor numbers: “In 2012, 227 149 visitors flew between Cape Town and Germany and 93 659 visitors flew between Cape Town and the Netherlands. In short, direct flights do matter.”
Winde is anticipating that international and domestic tourism to Cape Town and the Western Cape will heat up shortly, in line with the start of summer.