Virgin Atlantic will fly from London Heathrow to Cape Town from October 2020. Picture: Virgin Atlantic/Instagram.

Cape Town Air Access announces direct route from London Heathrow to Cape Town with Virgin Atlantic. The seasonal service will commence from October 2020.

Cape Town Air Access is a partnership between Wesgro, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Airports Company of South Africa, Cape Town Tourism and South African Tourism, and is the focal point for international air route development in the Western Cape.

Liezl Gericke, Head of Africa, Middle East and India, at Virgin Atlantic they were thrilled about the reintroduction of this popular route.

“It will make it even easier for our customers to travel for business and leisure between South Africa and the United Kingdom as well as creating additional cargo capacity for the route. The daily service will not only enhance a vital link between Cape Town and the UK’s capital, but it also provides seamless connections via Heathrow to Europe and North America,” said Gericke.

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, said the UK is the top market for Cape Town and the Western Cape in terms of both trade and travel.

“This addition to the Cape Town air route network will only serve to strengthen business and tourism between the regions,” said Harris. 

David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities said he welcomed the announcement of the new route between London Heathrow to Cape Town so that more people can experience the best that Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer. 

“Once again Air Access has proved that expanding air connectivity can expand opportunity for people, and expanding opportunity for people, can give hope to people by creating jobs in the Western Cape.”

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management within the City of Cape Town, said the aviation economy is a key driver of growth through tourism and trade. 

“We welcome any increase in connections between South Africa and other destinations. What is really exciting is the opportunity to attract more business and leisure travellers to our beautiful city. To grow the aviation economy, the City provides funding to the Air Access initiative which is mandated to expand current flight routes and to secure new routes to boost tourism and trade. We will continue to build on these successes by working with industries and strategic partners to invest in projects and programmes that will drive demand and make business sense.”

Deon Cloete, General Manager of Cape Town International Airport, said this was a prime route.

“This connection will help to create a more competitive environment, which will improve the value proposition for passengers from a pricing and product perspective - having a choice is always good news! We will look forward to welcoming Virgin Atlantic to Cape Town and will play our part in ensuring a smooth start-up at the airport.” 

The increased air access will also make a significant impact on jobs and growth as 3 000 jobs are supported by each regularly scheduled long-haul flight, and for every 10 percent increase in passenger numbers, the regional economy grows by two percent.