United Airlines plans to introduce a new non-stop route between Cape Town and the United States from Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey. File picture: Julio Cortez/AP

Cape Town Air Access (CTAA) has welcomed the announcement by United Airlines that it plans a new non-stop route between the city and the United States from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

If approved by the U.S. Department of transportation, the route will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

CTAA, a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape provincial government, Wesgro, the tourism, trade & investment promotion agency for the city and the province, as well as Cape Town Tourism and South African Tourism, said the planned service would provide an important link to the key North American market.

It would not only boost tourism but grow cargo and attract more foreign direct investment from American companies.

North America was one of the largest unserved markets for Cape Town and the Western Cape, with the USA, ranked as the 3rd largest market for inbound passengers to Cape Town International Airport in 2017.

Newark Liberty International Airport is one of four airports serving the New York metropolitan area. In 2017, the airport was the 6th busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the US. Just 25km from downtown Manhattan, it provides quick access to New York and its commercial and cultural centres.

The direct flight saves an estimated four hours in travel time.

A study conducted by Grant Thornton shows a direct flight to North America would add an estimated 24,000 passengers and add an estimated R283 million in direct tourism spending to the Cape economy in the first year. It would see 890 jobs in the province in the first year of operation.

The flight will also see an increase in direct and indirect imports into the province, with cargo capacity contributing approximately R94 million in potential trade. 

African News Agency/ANA