TOURISM: Questions Around CT Airport
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked South African Airways to review its decision to withdraw direct flights from Cape Town and to make Johannesburg the airline’s sole international hub.
The decision comes at a time when airlines such as British Airways have been increasing flights to Cape Town.
In a letter to Mr Khaya Ngqula, CEO of SAA, the Chamber points out that travellers from the City using SAA will now go via Johannesburg. Mr Jeremy Wiley, President of the Chamber, says this could be inconvenient, add time to the journey and incur extra airport taxes. All this would add unnecessarily to the cost of doing business.
The letter, which has been copied to both the National and Provincial Ministers of Transport, points out that “it is a well known fact that direct international air connections increase trade and economic activity between countries and regions.”
SAA, as a State-owned entity, had a responsibility to incorporate broader economic interests in its business model, rather than to focus solely on the bottom line.
The Chamber had fought over the years to secure international gateway status for Cape Town. It had pressed the Government to change its international air transport policy to allow regional airports such as those in Cape Town and Durban to become part of the international network of airline destinations. The Chamber also encouraged business travellers to use airlines which were committed to direct services to and from Cape Town.
The letter said: “We understand that SAA must develop the most economic model to operate its fleet efficiently. We do believe, however, that SAA, as part of the State, has an obligation to contribute towards the economic growth of regions within the country. Therefore we kindly request you to review your decision to centralise in Johannesburg. Cape Town deserves a direct service by SAA to international destinations.”
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