Cape’s spectacular growth set to continue with imminent air capacity increase
17 Oct 2017 – Tourism Update
Cape Town has seen double digit growth of international arrivals from Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the first half of this year.
Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Edelweiss and Eurowings will be adding or increasing frequency to Cape Town in the coming months.
Announcing the re-introduction of Austrian Airlines to South African skies, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said the demand for direct routes to Cape Town from key European markets was growing.
Cape Town has seen double-digit growth of international arrivals from Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the first half of this year.
International visitors from Germany grew by 10% and by 12% from Switzerland while a massive 25% increase in Austrian visitors to the Mother City was recorded.
“In the first half of this year, international arrivals to Cape Town grew by 27%,” said Harris. “If we carry on at this growth rate, in six years Cape Town International Airport will be the same size as OR Tambo International Airport.”
He said the growth in demand was clearly reflected in the expansion of routes such as those announced this week by the Lufthansa Group.
From October 27, 2018, Austrian Airlines will launch two weekly flights from Vienna to Cape Town. This year, from October 29, Lufthansa will increase its direct service from Frankfurt to Cape Town from three to five flights a week and from November 27, Edelweiss will fly from Zurich to Cape Town three times a week.
According to Dr André Schulz, Lufthansa Group Manager for Southern Africa, while the point-of-sale share was still higher on the airline’s Johannesburg routes, the growth and demand for increased services was being seen into Cape Town. “That is why the focus for introducing more capacity remains on Cape Town,” he told Tourism Update.
German, Swiss and Austrian travellers, he said, were increasingly looking for alternative holiday destinations and Cape Town was undoubtedly gaining traction. “It is not all that surprising that so many Europeans are happy to spend their holidays in the Western Cape. The destination offers very real value for money, which is why the various brands and hubs within our group continue to give Cape Town more attention. More flights, more services and more frequencies are on the cards.”
He said with this in mind Eurowings, the Lufthansa Group’s premium low-cost carrier, would introduce its new schedule to Cape Town in the next few weeks.
“The first aircraft will touch down at the Cape Town airport on November 6,” he said. Eurowings will operate a once-a-week flight between Cape Town and Cologne in Germany. According to Harris this opens the Western Cape up to an even greater number of German visitors.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunity and Tourism, told TU improved air access continued to be a focus for the government who were committed to growing tourism numbers even more.
He said a pipeline of projects were in place for 2018 as more routes would be unveiled to destinations around the world.
“In a country where we are battling to find 1% GDP growth, a 27% increase in international arrivals is a phenomenal number. In the upcoming summer season, we are scheduled to see an additional 130 000 international seats flying to our destination, due to the commitment of all airlines from all parts of the world to start operating new routes direct to Cape Town, or to expand their current flight schedules.”
Asked about the purchase of airberlin recently by the Lufthansa Group, Schulz said it would be incorporated into the Eurowings platform during the course of 2018.
“Airberlin will cease operations at the end of this month,” he said. “We will take over half of the fleet that includes 81 aircraft and 1 700 employees. The growth story of Eurowings will see acceleration just by this purchase of the Lufthansa Group. It is a major step in European airline consolidation.”