Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic will resume its seasonal service to Cape Town, with daily flights connecting to London, on October 27.
Virgin Atlantic operates flights from Johannesburg to London throughout the year, and from Cape Town to London from October to March, when British holidaymakers plan to visit Cape Town’s warm beaches.
The airline has also improved its service schedule with the introduction of larger Airbus A340-600 equipment for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday flights from Cape Town. With the new service, Virgin Atlantic will offer almost 5,000 more seats on the Cape Town-Heathrow route than last year, and over 8,000 seats more than originally planned.
Simon Newton-Smith, the Virgin Atlantic general manager for South Africa, said that Virgin Atlantic is delighted to return to Cape Town with daily flights from the very start of the season. ‘We are returning with a larger ‘peak day’ aircraft than originally planned. The extra seats will provide a welcome boost to the Western Cape economy with the incremental income from international visitors expected to reach nearly R50m,’ he said.
Last October when Virgin Atlantic resumed its direct flights from Cape Town to London, Newton-Smith said, ‘Cape Town is one of the key tourist destinations in South Africa, with its beautiful beaches and surrounding wine estates. We want to make it easier for international travellers to visit the city. By introducing the direct flight for summer, we believe this will drive additional tourism to both London and Cape Town by offering convenience along with the unique Virgin experience our passengers love. The direct route also cuts down costs, whichever way you’re flying.’
Thulani Nzima, South African tourism chief executive officer, said that an additional airlift into South Africa is always great news. He added, ‘Tourist arrivals growth to South Africa has been consistently strong and European markets are recovering well after the global recession. Virgin Atlantic’s increased capacity directly from London into Cape Town is a boost for Cape Town Tourism and is an indication of consumer confidence in our destination.’