FILE PHOTO: Kenya Airways planes are seen parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport near Kenya's capital Nairobi

JOHANNESBURG  - The Cape Town Air Access partnership on Thursday announced the addition from October 27 of two direct flights to the weekly Cape Town-Nairobi service, operated by Kenya Airways on a Boeing 737-800.

Kenya Airways joined the Cape Town route network in June 2016 with three flights between Cape Town and Nairobi. The latest additions will result in five non-stop flights a week.

Cape Town Air Access is an award-winning partnership between the Western Cape government, the city of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism, the province's tourism, trade and investment agency Wesgro, South African Tourism and Airports Company South Africa, as well as private sector partners.

“We are extremely excited by this announcement which shows that the new routes the partnership is helping to secure are sustainable,” Wesgro CEO Tim Harris said in a statement.

The expansion adds to flights already operating via Livingstone in Zambia four times a week and Zimbabwe's resort town of Victoria Falls three times a week, bringing to 12 the number of weekly flights added to the Cape Town network since 2018.

Western Cape provincial minister for finance and economic opportunities David Maynier said direct connectivity had contributed to significant growth in travel between Kenya and the province.

"In 2018, 53,300 two-way passengers travelled between Kenya and Cape Town, a seven percent increase when compared to 2017," he said.

"During January - May 2019, 23,970 two-way passengers travelled between Kenya and Cape Town, showing a significant increase of 25 percent when compared to the same period in 2018."

Since its inception in 2015, Cape Town Air Access has assisted in landing 15 new routes and 21 routes expansions. During this period, more than 750,000 inbound seats were added to its international network.

"Cape Town International is ready to welcome new passengers aboard Kenya Airways to our world-class, award-winning airport," the airport's general manager Deon Cloete said.

"We never take for granted when an airline makes a commitment to our destination. This is why the airport team continues to play its role in the region by delivering a quality service, a role we take seriously."

- African News Agency (ANA)