Every single extra aircraft that lands in Cape Town means more jobs and additional funds for the region, so it is great to see that more and more international airlines have accepted the business case for having direct flights to the Mother City, aviation consultant Chris Click told Fin24 in a recent interview.
Click is pleased with the success of the Cape Town Air Access initiative spearheaded by Wesgro, and with which he has close links.
The latest success is the recently announced seasonal direct flight between Cape Town and Newark in the US by United Airlines, set to start in December 2019.
"This means people visiting family or travelling for business can save almost a day each way," Click told Fin24 on the sidelines of the 75th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in Seoul, South Korea.
At the same time, he emphasises that establishing direct flights does not just happen overnight.
'Like opening a company'
"There are extensive business cases that have to be made. One must understand that the investment involved in opening a new flight route is very big. One could compare it with opening a medium-sized company," explained Click.
"That is why an airline must think carefully before making such a commitment."
What makes the Cape Town direct air access initiative so successful, in his view, is the cooperation between governmental and private entities, including the Cape Town International Airport and tourism organisations like SA Tourism.
It enables airlines to have a single point of contact rather than having to spend lots of time having many conversations with different entities before coming to a conclusion.
One of the further plus points of the new direct route for him is the great connectivity it offers from Newark to other destinations, including Canada and the West Coast of the US.