File photo. Leon Nicholas

SAA’s decision to pull its direct flights from Cape Town to London could be linked to the fact that the city is not an ANC-controlled metro, says mayor Patricia de Lille.

De Lille was speaking to the Cape Town Press Club on Wednesday about her first year in office.

She was responding to questions on whether she believed SAA was “punishing” Cape Town. The national carrier announced last week that it was discontinuing its flights between the two destinations from August 15. It was slammed by the city, which said it would start talks with other airlines.

The news came as the International Air Transport Association announced it would be hosting its World Air Transport Congress in the city next year.

SAA’s decision was akin to comments that Cape Town was a “racist city”, said De Lille. She said this perception had only started after the ANC lost control of the city.

She questioned the “business sense” of SAA pulling one of their “most lucrative routes”.

“But let them do it, we will find other ways to make Cape Town attractive,” she said. - Cape Argus