Cape Town is gearing up for a bumper summer holiday season, with more flights between London promising an influx of tourists, while, at the same time, short-haul air travel in and around the United Kingdom is being cancelled.
During the first quarter of 2022, foreign arrivals in South Africa escalated but still remained well below pre-pandemic levels of tourism. However, Winter hit shortly after South Africa’s lockdown ended and has not done much in elevating the sector’s recovery, as European tourists chose to spend their summers in neighbouring countries, reports Business Insider.
Meanwhile, as South Africa struggled to welcome more foreign arrivals in recent months, the revival of travel, especially in Europe, recently pushed major airports into chaos.
However, the upcoming summer season can give the sector the necessary boost to elevate its recovery. In addition, it will be the first since 2020 unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, holding much promise for South Africa’s tourism sector.
Cape Town is a beloved tourist destination and thanks to the increased flight frequencies, the city expects to welcome an influx of foreign tourists, particularly those coming from the UK.
British Airways will resume its London-Gatwick to Cape Town from 13 December until 25 March 2023, with three weekly flights on the Boeing 777-200. Furthermore, the carrier will also double its frequency on the London-Heathrow route, introducing a second daily flight from 13 November until 25 March 2023 on an Airbus A350-1000.
Virgin Atlantic will also resume its daily London-Heathrow to Cape Town flight on 5 November.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic’s increased frequencies will result in a total of 24 weekly flights between the United Kingdom and Cape Town during the latter’s summer season, which is a much-needed boost.
On Monday, in a tweet, Mayoral Member for Economic Growth and Tourism at the City of Cape Town, James Vos said: “Happy to share the good news that from November there will be a total of 24 flights per week between Cape Town and UK for the summer season.”
He said that they are working around the clock to make the tourism sector bounce back stronger than before because the visitor economy is everyone’s business.
According to reports, British Airways which has struggled with baggage handling systems, resulting in lost and delayed luggage, will cut roughly 10 000 short-haul flights between late October and March 2023.
Although Virgin Atlantic hasn’t confirmed any fresh cancellations for later this year, the airline recently expressed disappointment in Heathrow Airport’s decision to extend its cap on passenger capacity until the end of October.
Heathrow’s daily limit of 100 000 departing passengers has previously led to cancellations on Virgin Atlantic’s roster, with flights to New York and Delhi just some of the many routes falling victim to the cap in July.
Picture: British Airways/ Facebook