After the announcement of South Africa’s first nonstop flight to Brussels Airport, starting September 14 with Air Belgium, the City of Cape Town has welcomed the air connection to a key export market for South Africa’s Western Cape.
The Belgian carrier will fly to Cape Town every Monday and Wednesday and to Johannesburg every Sunday and Wednesday. On Wednesdays, the flight will operate a triangular route, first touching down at Johannesburg and then onwards to Cape Town.
Johannesburg and Cape Town will be the carrier’s only continental Africa flights.
In 2019, two-way international passenger volumes on the BEL-CPT route exceeded 35 000 passengers, amounting to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10% each year between 2015 and 2019. In addition, a total of 863 metric tonnes of air cargo was transported on the BEL-CPT route, representing a 52% recovery rate when compared to 2019.
In terms of exports, Belgium is the Western Cape’s 7th largest European export market, with R2.61bn worth of goods exported in 2021 (up 81.5% from 2020) while Brussels has historically been Cape Town’s second largest unserved market and the largest unserved European market based on two-way international passenger volumes.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “I welcome Air Belgium’s announcement to launch a triangular route between Brussels, Johannesburg and Cape Town as yet another signal of recovery for the Western Cape’s tourism and hospitality sector. Air Brussels focuses on leisure travel and shows that there is a clear uptick in demand for flights to Cape Town and the Western Cape, which is good for our economy and the creation of jobs in the Western Cape. I would like to congratulate the Cape Air Access team at the Western Cape government’s official destination marketing organisation, Wesgro, who continue to proactively and successfully engage with key tourism markets, taking advantage of pent-up traveller demand, to increase connections to the Western Cape.”
City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, said: “This is great news for Cape Town! The additional capacity provided between Belgium and Cape Town will offer superb potential for growth in business and leisure travel between these destinations for international visitors and locals alike. As the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, I’m keenly aware of the benefits to the local economy of being able to bring more passengers and flights to Cape Town. It is because of these significant spin-offs that I motivated for more funding towards our Air Access initiative. The more we extend our reach, the more Cape Town and South Africa can reap the economic benefits of tourism.”
“Air Belgium’s plan to schedule two flights to Cape Town in September adds another ray of hope to our tourism industry which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes immensely to the economy of the Western Cape. Lately, Cape Town and the Western Cape has been experiencing a significant increase in local and international flights and we are hopeful that there will continue to be an upward trajectory for travel to Cape Town and the Western Cape,” concluded Wesgro CEO and Official Spokesperson for Air Access, Wrenelle Stander.