The City of Cape Town – working with investment and trade agency, Wesgro, to increase international air connectivity to the Mother City as part of the Air Access initiative – now has plans to expand Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) over the next five years to provide for additional capacity.

“The mandate set out for Air Access – which was launched in 2015 – is to expand current flight routes and to secure new routes to boost tourism and trade,” said City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, highlighting the need to create “more efficient connections between our city and key source markets”.

He explained that the planned expansion would increase capacity from 30 take-offs and landings per hour to 45.

 “In five years we’ve landed sixteen new flights – the latest being United’s service to New York in December last year,” said Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.

During this period, Cape Town also secured 22 route expansions, increasing the international seat capacity to 1.5 million two-way seats. “We’ve basically doubled the non-stop connectivity to Cape Town,” added Harris. 

Harris spoke about the expansion of the initiative to Port Elizabeth and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport based on the success of the programme in Cape Town, but highlighted that work was still being done at CTIA.  “We’re still talking to Norwegian; we think there’s a strong business case with that airline,” said Harris, referring to more potential flights being brought to the airport.

The success of the Air Access initiative has been recognised by the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), with CEO Chris Zweigenthal telling Tourism Update: “Any further work that they’re doing in trying to get more air access in Cape Town would be supported.

“The most important aspect is to see how we can replicate that model in other parts of South Africa such as King Shaka and OR Tambo,” said Zweigenthal, highlighting that the ultimate goal was to improve tourism across South Africa.

“The next step is to grow Cape Town’s cargo footprint for export and increase the number of exports from Cape Town. I look forward to working with our partners to see how we can grow the aviation economy, to increase business and leisure tourism, to connect Cape Town to more countries and to export more ‘proudly Cape Town’ products to the rest of the world,” concluded Vos.