Yesterday evening the Cape Town Air Access (CTAA) project, a division of Wesgro, provided a review of 2018, whilst looking at opportunities for the upcoming year.
Forming the focal point for proactive international air route development in Cape Town and the Western Cape, the initiative has launched 13 new routes and facilitated 19 route expansions since their inception in 2015.
This has doubled seat capacity at Cape Town International Airport, adding 1.5 million two-way seats to the Cape Town network, contributing and estimated R6 billion in direct tourism spend since July 2015.
A key theme for the evening was turning adversity into opportunity, as the Province emerged from a challenging year with the drought creating uncertainty for visitors.
Addressing guests was Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, who discussed how Cape Town and the Western Cape has become renowned for turning disasters into opportunities. “When you hit a disaster, it is the partnerships that get you out,” commented Zille, who went on to congratulate the collaborative project as being a prime example of an initiative that has done this particularly well – with the project continuing to grow air connectivity despite the challenges facing the province and country at large in 2018.
“We’re in competition with everyone for tourists, business and investment. We want Cape Town to succeed because we want to see South Africa succeed. If South Africa succeeds, Africa succeeds,” added Zille.
Continuing the theme of collaboration, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, highlighted how collaborating to grow air connectivity is happening around South Africa, with the CTAA team actively engaging with Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport and Nelson Mandela Bay to see how a similar model can be implemented to boost air connectivity to these provinces.
“The real success of the project is reflected in the international terminal passenger growth, with 16% growth recorded in 2016, 20% growth in 2017, and 9% growth for 2018 in two-way passengers. International air cargo has also seen phenomenal, recording 52% growth during 2017 due to the added belly-freight capacity. In addition to this, business class passenger numbers have experienced exceptional growth over the last few years with 15% growth in 2017, and 10% in 2018,” added Harris.
Highlights for the past year included:
- Three new airlines added to the Cape Town network: RwandAir, Austrian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific;
- four new destinations added: Kigali, Harare, Vienna, and Hong Kong;
- CTAA awarded Best Destination Marketing Award and overall Route Africa award at Routes Africa 2018;
- CTAA awarded Highly Commended award at in the Destination Marketing category at World Routes 2018;
- the initiative hosted the AviaDev Africa 2018 conference which welcomed 172 route development representatives from 29 countries, including representatives from 23 airlines.
In the upcoming financial year, CTAA will look to focus on air cargo development in the Western Cape, which has recorded over 50% increase in 2017 since the projects inception, and facilitate cooperation initiatives with other airports and partners in South Africa. In terms of route development, facilitating new, and expanding on existing routes in Africa will remain a key theme, with the initiative actively in the process of looking to develop a direct flight between North America and Cape Town International Airport.
“Air Access has shown excellent results in creating new routes and growing the numbers of people coming into the Western Cape. By creating direct routes and making it easier to access the province, Air Access also plays an important role in developing trade relations and growing tourism. Going forward, we will continue to focus on developing new routes, especially across Africa, and exploring the potential for growing cargo further which will help to further grow our economy and create new jobs,” commented Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer.
Taking a more in-depth look at how the aviation economy can boost connectivity and investment, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos said: “Weaving the urban fabric of the surrounding area and influencing economic and social growth, airports are quickly becoming anchors for a new type of city. No longer are they just locations where aircrafts land and depart, they are destinations where businesses grow, people live and development flourishes. Aerotropolis cities are destined to be the economic engine of the 21st century. As a globally forward looking city, we will look at ways to implement and support this concept.”
“We have seen excellent results from the air access programme. Whilst air connectivity is critical to our region; it is key to boosting tourism and investment. The airport is gearing up for its expansion to meet the current demand. A special thank you to all airlines for choosing Cape Town. Together we look forward to enabling more route into our region,” concluded Deon Cloete, General Manager of Cape Town International Airport.
Cape Town Air Access is a partnership between the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, South African Tourism, Airports Company South Africa and private sector partners.