Virgin Atlantic announces return of services to Cape Town from London

Virgin Atlantic has announced the return of services to Cape Town from London Heathrow starting November 5, 2022 with a new daily service.

The new winter service runs until March 24, 2023 and will complement the existing year-round daily service to Johannesburg. The service will operate on a Boeing 787-9 with fares starting from £711 economy return. The aircraft boasts three classes, Upper Class, Premium and Economy.

Known for its natural beauty, as well as its rich culture and heritage, Cape Town has something for everyone to enjoy. Home to Robben Island, travellers can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held, which is now a living museum. The more adventurous can ride the cable cars to Table Mountain’s flat top for sweeping views of the city, and the more laid-back may consider the Cape Winelands, the country’s top region for wine tasting tours.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: ‘We’re incredibly excited to return to the fabulous city of Cape Town with daily services from November.

‘Although a little later than we we’d have liked due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the move reflects the fact that travel is recovering and global demand for holidays to sunny, premium destinations is returning at pace.

‘We’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route who will rightly be taking advantage of the winter sun, exploring the world-renowned wine regions and soaking up the rich culture this incredible country has to offer.’

The Cape Town flights are on sale now, return Economy fares start from £711 per person, Premium from £1,318 per person and Upper Class from £3,454 per person.

Virgin Atlantic announces new services from Heathrow and Manchester starting October

Virgin Atlantic has announced new fights from Manchester and London Heathrow with services commencing from October 2020 onwards.

For the first time, Virgin Atlantic will fly to India from Manchester starting October 26. Along with the airline’s double daily service from Heathrow to Delhi and daily service from Heathrow to Mumbai, the airline will now offer over 600,000 seats per year between the UK and India. The new thrice a week service – on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday – will fly on an A330-200 aircraft. Return Economy fares start from £535 per person. Flights are on sale from March 3, 2020 at

From January 2021, customers will now have more opportunities to fly to Barbados in the Caribbean. In addition to daily flights from Gatwick and a seasonal flight from Heathrow in winter, Virgin Atlantic will now fly a Boeing 747 three times a week on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday from Manchester. Return Economy fares from £564 per person.

In addition, Virgin Atlantic will add a daily seasonal winter service to Cape Town service from Heathrow complementing the existing daily A350 service to Johannesburg. Flying on a 787-9 aircraft, this new service launches on 25 October. The VS478 will operate as a night flight departing Heathrow at 16:20 arriving into Cape Town at 05:55 whereas the inbound, the VS479, will depart at 08:00, arriving 18:00. Return Economy fares start from £713 per person.

Further, as the only UK airline flying direct to Havana, Virgin Atlantic will add an additional weekly service to the city. Now flying three times a week on a Tuesday, Friday and Sunday on a 787-9 aircraft, Virgin Atlantic is offering 45 percent more capacity to the city compared to winter 2019. Return Economy fares are from £696 per person.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic commented: ‘2020 is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic and increasing our presence out of Manchester is a huge focus for us. Not only are we the headline sponsor of the Manchester Pride Festival but we’re delighted to announce a new service flying three times a week from Manchester to Delhi, additional capacity into Barbados from Manchester as well as a Clubhouse opening this summer. This year will also see Flybe transform into Virgin Connect, and we’re excited to offer customers flying from the north 47 daily flights throughout the UK, Ireland and across Europe.’

‘2020 marks our 20th anniversary of flying to India and as the destination continues to grow in popularity for both business and leisure travel, we’re thrilled to fly to Delhi for very first time from Manchester, our home in the north. Additionally, we look forward launching new services from Heathrow to Sao Paulo and Cape Town as well as increasing capacity on our Heathrow to Havana route.’

South African Airways Reorganises Long Distance Services, Cuts down London to Cape Town Flights

South African Airways (SAA), a South Africa-based airline, has terminated its service to London, from Cape Town, in South Africa.

The airline is offering flights to London only from its Johannesburg hub, effective from August 16, 2012. The airline has recently reorganised its long-haul routes for the more efficient management of aircraft, and will be expanding its twice-daily services between Johannesburg and London Heathrow airport by 13 percent, by using larger aircraft on the route.

Theunis Potgieter, the airline general manager commercial, said, ‘SAA is redeploying its capacity to routes experiencing expanding demand as part of our larger strategy for growth and increased efficiency within the airline. As an airline which has a key role in the development and support of the economy and tourism across South Africa, we are constantly working to ensure the optimal use of our resources in the national interest, for example by ensuring additional connectivity between the BRICS partners Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, and to an increasing number of African destinations.

A thorough analysis of the route made it clear that we could use our aircraft more profitably elsewhere while continuing to ensure excellent business and tourism links between the Western Cape and the UK with our significant capacity via Johannesburg. It is also clear that we would lose money on the direct route in future, whereas it is possible for us to operate more optimally between Cape Town and London via our Johannesburg hub.’

The airline has also been offering direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing, China, since February this year, and expanded its service to Mumbai, India, in May. The airline is currently offering new, non-stop services to New York, reducing its flying time on the route by 90 minutes.

Cape Town short-listed for World Design Capital 2014

Cape Town has been short-listed for the World Design Capital 2014. From a team of 56 hopefuls, Cape Town now stands alongside just 2 other world cities – Dublin and Bilbao – in the race to earn the World Design Capital title.

Being named a World Design Capital bears a prestigious status. The title is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (CSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural, and economic development.

The announcement is pivotal for Cape Town’s reputation as a destination that has adopted design for transformation and social cohesion. Design as a principle for changing lives began with the end of apartheid and, increasingly, has become a guiding philosophy in the repositioning of Cape Town as a sustainable city, committed to a journey to improve the quality of life of all its citizens.

Cape Town Tourism greeted the news with great enthusiasm. Said CEO, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold: “This is a significant moment for Cape Town. Our shortlisting is an acknowledgement that design is an asset and a massive catalyst to align different sectors across the city with the ultimate goal of making Cape Town a more liveable city. Many people associate Cape Town with our beautiful natural surrounds, but design and innovation is leading the way for us to become a city that people are increasingly choosing to explore and discover from an urban context.

“More than half the world’s population lives in cities, and urban tourism dominates the international tourism landscape; over 70% of international tourism spend occurs in urban areas. Cities are incubators of innovation and ideas, epicenters of modern, living culture. Design is increasingly becoming a fundamental tool to ensure that Cape Town is more competitive, liveable, and efficient.

“Cape Town’s position as innovation hub sets us apart from any other South African and African city. As Cape Town moves into the future, we are convinced that it will become an ever more exciting place to live in, work in, and visit.

“Design is one of the fundamental pillars of the positioning of Cape Town as a place of inspiration. As with the World Cup, the bid process has given us a common platform to elevate Cape Town’s place on the world’s stage. We urge all Capetonians to get behind the bid. Citizen support and ownership will be key to the success of our bid.”

The story at the heart of Cape Town’s bid theme is about the city’s use of design to overturn the negative legacies of its colonial and apartheid past that saw design dividing people, disconnecting the city, and relegating both people of color and the urban poor to its fringes. This both denied these people equitable access to resources and opportunities, not least the opportunity of making their own contributions to a better city. It also made the country a pariah in the eyes of the world, and excluded it from many opportunities to engage in the globalizing economy.

At a handover ceremony of the World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book from City to Provincial hands, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille commented on the accolade: “We are building an inclusive city, one based around 5 pillars: the opportunity city, the safe city, the caring city, the inclusive city, and the efficient city. Design is a tool for all of these areas of transformation. It is able to inform us as to how we can best provide employment and upliftment to improve the quality of life of our citizens.”

With predecessors such as Seoul, Korea (2010), and Helsinki, Finland (2012), proving that living design can, in fact, transform lives, Cape Town’s status as a top 3 contender shifts the city onto a new world platform and into a new era.

The Cape Town Partnership (who has been mandated to manage the bid), the city of Cape Town, and Cape Town Tourism will now host a delegation of World Design Capital 2014 judges in the city between July 10-24, 2011. An important stage in the process, this is when the content of the Bid Book and the city’s priorities, in terms of design as a tool for social transformation, will tread its proving ground. The World Design Capital 2014 winner will be announced on October 26, 2011.

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book are available on and case studies for design in Cape Town can be viewed at .

“Pick of the bunch” – Getaways for Gardeners

With next week’s Chelsea Flower Show completely sold out, all is not lost if you have been left without a ticket to London’s most prestigious event. Why not consider an early summer holiday and take some inspiration from some of the world’s most beautiful gardens and recreate that relaxed ‘holiday feel’ in your own back yard. So whether your greens fingered or not, take a look at these “blooming marvelous” Thomas Cook holidays to help inspire your very own exotic garden makeover.

South Africa – Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Whether for a casual stroll, more strenuous walk or lazy picnic, these gardens are a must-see for any visit to Cape Town. Nestled against the steep and rugged slopes of Table Mountain, they are a celebration of South African flora showcasing thousands of unique plants and flowers such as the Protea.

Thomas Cook Signature – 7 nights in Cape Town from £1,098 per person

Staying at 4 star Protea Hotel President in Cape Town on bed and breakfast, flying with South African Airways from London Heathrow – 26th June 2011.

Malta – Valetta

Barrakka Gardens

Popular with locals and visitors, Valetta’s Barrakka Gardens offer the best views over this city’s Grand Harbour. Beautifully manicured and dating back to 1661 when they were private gardens for the Italian knights, today they provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of Valetta’s busy streets. Divided into two parts, Upper Barrakka has various statues and monuments including one dedicated to Winston Churchill, and those visiting the gardens at noon or sunset can expect to hear the cannon that are fired as a salute dating back to British rule in Malta.

Thomas Cook – 7 nights in Malta from £344 per person

Staying at the 4 star Rivera Resort in Marfa Bay on bed and breakfast, departing London Gatwick on 21stJune 2011.

Morocco – Marrakech

Jardin Majorelle

Owned by Yves Saint Laurent until his death in 2008, these gardens are full of perfumed flowers, fruit trees, water and shade and Marrakchis consider them to be paradise on earth. This beautifully manicured oasis contains plants from the five continents in an enchanting framework.

Cresta – 3 nights in Marrakech from £269 per person

Staying at the 3 star Hotel Oudaya in Marrakech on bed and breakfast, flying with Easyjet from London Gatwick – 27th June 2011.

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