It’s a reunion as airline resumes New York-Cape Town flights

By Oluthando Keteyi Time of article published Dec 3, 2021

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After more than 20 months, direct United Airlines has resumed flights to Cape Town from New York.

On Thursday, the first flight from the airline touched down at Cape Town International Airport.

The city first welcomed the maiden direct United Airlines New York to Cape Town flight on 16 December 2019, after much effort from the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Cape Town Tourism, and Airports Company South Africa, which has helped facilitate Wesgro’s Air Access project.

The route was suspended a few months after its launch in March las year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis was at the airport to welcome the resumption of the flights.

‘This is a special occasion – a day where we can welcome back United Airlines flights from New York to Cape Town.

It was heart warming to see a plane full of excited American tourists ready to explore and enjoy Cape Town, after a 20-month hiatus in flights.

This is why it gives me great pleasure to say that today, we are “United” once more, said Hill-Lewis.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on livelihoods and families.

The tourism industry is a core part of the local economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

“As the mayor of this beautiful city, I have said that we will focus all our work on growing the economy and making Cape Town the easiest place to do business in Africa.

“I look forward to seeing this route flourish and connect more people to each other, and help grow a stronger, resilient relationship between our two cities,” said Hill-Lewis.

Mayoral committee member for economic growth, Alderman James Vos, said while the travel bans are disappointing, the city with its partners, will continue to work hard to reverse these restrictions to see the return of international airlines and all its travellers who were so keen to visit Cape Town.

“A few weeks ago, we launched a destination marketing campaign in New York and other major cities showing the diversity of experiences and the beauty that Cape Town offers.

“This route between North America and Cape Town opens travel and trade opportunities that stand to be of significant benefit to our economy.

“Tourism and aviation are crucial drivers of employment and the economy in Cape Town. In 2019, the airport helped funnel just under R14 billion into the metro while supporting over 28 000 jobs.

“We are determined to grow the aviation economy once more, to increase business and leisure tourism, and connect Cape Town to more countries,” said Vos.

Evidence of the attractiveness of the city on a global level, are the several accolades and awards the city has received.

Cape Town has been named the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination 2020 and Africa’s Leading City Destination and others in 2021 by the World Travel Awards.

These awards are expected to boost Cape Town’s resilience when it finally emerges from the effects of Covid-19.

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