Tourism Cape Town has taken a hit with the decision of Delta Airlines to drop its plans to fly to Cape Town for the foreseeable future.
The airline, which is set to make its post-Covid-19 return to South Africa with a non-stop service between Atlanta and Johannesburg beginning on August 1, last week applied to the Department of Transport to change its frequency allocation.
The application only requested Delta flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg, but does not mention any plans for the popular Cape Town route.
Last year when it originally announced is plans to return to South Africa, Delta said it planned to operate a triangle route from Atlanta to Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris, however, said the triangular route would be reconsidered at a later stage due to issues with the bilateral air service agreement.
“In addition we expect most of the scheduled carriers to return from October onwards, especially for the South African summer.
This includes regular intercontinental carrier services such as British Airways from London Heathrow, Emirates from Dubai and Air France from Paris.”
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has urged national government to do its part in luring Delta back to Cape Town
“We are actively engaging with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. The resumption of the Delta Airlines’ flight to Cape Town is key for economic recovery in the Western Cape.”
At the same time, Delta’s senior vice-president, Joe Esposito, said customers who wanted to travel to Cape Town would have to rely on Delta’s local interline partners which provide convenient connections to Cape Town.
Esposito said: “Delta’s flights to Johannesburg are operated in partnership with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. Customers can also reach South Africa via Delta’s European hubs in Paris and Amsterdam.”
Earlier in June, another US airline, United Airlines, inaugurated its non-stop daily service between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and ORTambo International Airport.
Speaking about United’s plans to fly to Cape Town, aviation specialist Linden Birns said: “As things stand, United Airlines intends to resume its seasonal New York (Newark) Cape Town service in October.”
Meanwhile Statistics SA on Monday released April’s tourist accommodation income data which showed that in April this year, all accommodation types recorded large positive year-on-year growth in income from accommodation.
Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said: “The largest year-on-year increases in income from accommodation were reported by caravan parks and camping sites and guest houses and guest farms.”