The long awaited direct flight from Cape Town to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, New York City, has being announced by the United Airlines. The route was approved by the U.S Department of Transportation and will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Aircraft.
The planes will have 48 seats in business class, 88 seats in economy plus class, and 116 seats in economy class. Once operational, this will tremendously boost and attract foreign direct investments into the Western Cape Province. This will provide South Africans traveling from South Africa with quick access to New York and its commercial and cultural centres. According to Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, North America was one of the largest unserved markets for Cape Town and the Western Cape so this will serve as a game changer.
The direct flight to North America would add an estimated 24 000 passengers, which was 20% of the 2018 market. That translates into an estimated R283 million in direct tourism to the Cape economy in the first year. The USA was ranked as the 3rd largest market for inbound passengers to Cape Town International Airport in 2017. At that rate, it could increase to R425m by 2021. It would also mean nearly 900 new jobs in the province during the route’s first year of operation, as well as increase direct and indirect imports to the region.
The Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini, said that arrivals from the United States to South Africa “have shown consistent growth year-on-year, solidifying its position as a key market, not only for the Western Cape but for South Africa as a whole.” According to Dlamini, 2018 saw close to 450 000 arrivals from North America.