The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape have welcomed Air Belgium’s plan to schedule two flights a week to Cape Town – one direct and one triangular route Brussels-Johannesburg-Cape Town in September.
The leisure-oriented Belgian airline, which has several Caribbean destinations in its network, is in the process of expanding its fleet to enable the launch of new routes to South Africa, with Johannesburg and Cape Town being the carrier’s only continental Africa routes.
In 2019, two-way international passenger volumes on the BEL-CPT route exceeded 35 000 passengers, amounting to a compound annual growth rate of 10% a year between 2015 and 2019. In addition, 863 metric tonnes of air cargo were transported on the BEL-CPT route, representing a 52% recovery rate when compared with 2019.
In terms of exports, Belgium is the Western Cape’s seventh-largest European export market, with R2.61bn (€162m) worth of goods exported in 2021 (up 81.5% from 2020), while Brussels has historically been Cape Town’s second-largest unserved market and the largest unserved European market based on two-way international passenger volumes.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “I welcome Air Belgium’s announcement as yet another signal of recovery for the Western Cape’s tourism and hospitality sector. Air Belgium focuses on leisure travel and this shows that there is a clear uptick in demand for flights to Cape Town and the Western Cape, which is good for our economy and the creation of jobs in the Western Cape.”
He added: “I would like to congratulate the Cape Air Access team at the Western Cape government’s official destination marketing organisation, Wesgro, who continue to proactively and successfully engage with key tourism markets, taking advantage of pent-up traveller demand, to increase connections to the Western Cape.”
City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, said the additional capacity provided between Belgium and Cape Town would offer potential for growth in business and leisure travel between these destinations for international visitors and locals alike.
Wesgro CEO and Official Spokesperson for Air Access, Wrenelle Stander, pointed out: “Air Belgium’s plan to schedule two flights to Cape Town in September adds another ray of hope to our tourism industry, which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes immensely to the economy of the Western Cape.
“Lately, Cape Town and the Western Cape has been experiencing a significant increase in local and international flights and we are hopeful that there will continue to be an upward trajectory for travel to Cape Town and the Western Cape.”