Cape Town international air terminal achieved a 21% passenger recovery rate for the first three weeks of August 2021, compared to the same period in 2019 while international airline capacity reached the 50% recovery mark for the first time since the resumption of international services in October 2020.
This is the highest recovery rate since international travel resumed, according the latest Air Route Network Update by Cape Town Air Access, an air-route development project housed within Wesgro, which is responsible for establishing direct flights that connect Cape Town and the Western Cape with the rest of the world.
International Airlines that have recently resumed services to Cape Town include Singapore Airlines – twice per week, from 01 July 2021 and Emirates – 3 times per week, from 12 August 2021. British Airways intends to return to the City from 01 November 2021 with a planned daily service between Cape Town and London Heathrow (CPT-LHR), while on the domestic front FlyCemair will introduce a daily service from 01 September 2021 between Cape Town and Hoedspruit (CPT-HDS).
When it comes to domestic terminal performance, the period 01-21 August 2021 saw a material improvement in domestic terminal performance when compared to the decline experienced in July. The passenger recovery for the first three weeks of August 2021, compared to the same period in 2019, is currently 36%, notably lower than the year-high 62% achieved in May 2021, but an improvement when compared to 23% in July 2021. Load Factors have also increased to a year-high of 84%, an indication that flights have remained full.
This recovery is set to continue with the incremental addition of flight frequencies and the re-introduction of carrier routes as travel restrictions are relaxed in major source markets, and both the domestic and international markets are expected to improve with increasing domestic and international vaccination rates and the return of international carriers to Cape Town.
Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, David Maynier, commented: “The latest passenger data for Cape Town International Airport provides a glimmer of hope for the tourism and travel industry which has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. A successful summer season is critical for the recovery of the tourism sector and so we welcome back those international airlines that are resuming service to Cape Town, especially from our key source markets. We know that tourism can bounce back but it will take place at different stages depending on travel restrictions, changes in consumer behaviour and the progress of the vaccine rollout, and so we continue to work hard to promote the region to domestic and international travellers and remove any barriers preventing travellers from visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape.”
“While Cape Town has often featured on global ‘top 10 must-visit’ lists, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever that industries such as tourism cannot afford to stagnate and must innovate, evolve and diversify in order to survive and thrive. Now is the time to build on that with a focus on key areas such as affordability of products and services, the use of smart and simple technology for more seamless travel, marketing to domestic and international travellers who are itching to visit, and building community tourism initiatives that show the unique diversity and culture of Cape Town,” added Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Member for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town.
Wesgro’s Acting CEO, Yaw Peprah concluded: “The Cape Town Air Access team is in constant contact with all airline partners and we are confident that the attractiveness of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a summer holiday destination combined with the willingness shown by airlines to return to Cape Town will really ignite the tourism recovery in the Province.”