Welcome to Cape Town, United Airlines

Cape Town Air Access warmly welcomes the inaugural non-stop flight between New York/Newark and Cape Town, operated by United Airlines. The flight touched down at Cape Town International yesterday evening.

The securing of this non-stop flight, connecting the Western Cape to North America, demonstrates the power of public-private sector partnership and cooperation.

“We are proud of this achievement and are grateful to those organisations that participated in making this new route possible. Five years ago, when we started the Cape Town Air Access project, we identified the United States route as a priority and have worked since then to land it. The USA is in the top three most important markets for the Cape across investment, exports and tourism” says Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro.

Since its inception in 2015, Cape Town Air Access has succeeded in landing 16 new routes, and 22 route expansions, adding over 750,000 one-way seats into Cape Town International Airport. It is estimated that the additional routes have helped contribute an additional R6 billion in tourism spend to the Cape’s economy.

David Maynier, Minister of Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, said: “The new United Airlines service will open up the U.S. and North American markets to opportunities in the Western Cape and significantly contribute towards growing our tourism sector and stimulating economic growth in the Western Cape. What Cape Town Air Access has shown is that expanding air connectivity, can expand opportunity for people, and expanding opportunity for people, can give hope to people, especially young people, who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, in the Western Cape. We welcome United Airlines to Cape Town and the Western Cape, and we look forward to working together to land your vision of ’Connecting People, Uniting the World.”

Cape Town Air Access is an award-winning partnership between Wesgro, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Airports Company South Africa, Cape Town Tourism and South African Tourism, and is supported by Naspers, Tsogo Sun, Investec, Oasis Holdings, the V&A Waterfront, and the Leeu Collection.

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management within the City of Cape Town added: “The direct flight from New York to Cape Town, secured by Air Access, will allow us to leverage our partnerships with New York and United Airlines to grow the US market. A direct year-round flight between Cape Town and New York would bring in 24 000 inbound passengers, growing travellers from the USA by 20%. Looking solely at the current direct route, in its four months of operation, it’s expected to see a R153 million boost in tourism spend by 2021.”

Cape Town Air Access is a unique public-private collaboration, with the key objective of landing and supporting direct routes into Cape Town International Airport.

Deon Cloete, General Manage of Cape Town airport said, “Yesterday’s flight is a culmination of hard work over time. We are happy that our efforts within the broader collaboration has paid off. Cape Town has previously had links to American city’s but the new York connection is the first of its kind.  With the type of technological advancements and aircraft advancement there truly are no two cities in the word that cannot connect – this flight is testament to that. Yesterday we welcomed the flight in true Cape Town style!”

“I think this direct flight that’s going from Cape Town to Newark, New York is all about connecting people. We have a great opportunity to connect businesses, trade and cargo, but when you get down to it, it’s about connecting people,” says Virginia Blaser, Consul General for the US in Cape Town. “It provides a platform for Americans and South Africans to enjoy each other’s culture, and to also grow businesses.”

“The launch of the United Airlines New York to Cape Town direct flight is a very exciting development. This will help in enhancing South Africa’s goal to continue to grow our arrivals out of North America. Cape Town is an iconic city and consistently ranks high in various global studies as a highly sought-after destination. It is South Africa’s pride city. This route benefits travellers by significantly cutting their journey by at least eight hours on their return trip. In addition, travellers can expand their itinerary via airline code-share agreements so they can visit the many attractions in the various other parts of South Africa. So they can get to experience our unique cosmopolitan cities, wildlife, incredible scenery, welcoming people, delicious food and wine,” says Sthembiso Dlamini, acting CEO of South African Tourism.