3 December 2021
Direct United Airlines flights to Cape Town from New York resumed yesterday as the first plane in more than 20 months from the airline touched down at Cape Town International Airport.
“I am so pleased that we could be here to welcome the resumption of these flights,” said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
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 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a special occasion – a day where we can welcome back United Airlines flights from New York to Cape Town. It was heartwarming 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 Mayor Hill-Lewis.
Covid-19 has had a significant impact on livelihoods and families. The tourism industry is a core part of our 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,” added Mayor 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,” added Alderman Vos.
Service delivery accolades and the travel awards which we have received like being 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, are evidence of the attractiveness of the city on a global level.
These awards are expected to boost Cape Town’s resilience when it finally emerges from the effects of Covid-19.
Cape Town is the gateway to the Western Cape and the African continent, and has the infrastructure, the scenery, the human capital and a favourable exchange rate to further build upon its reputation as a must-see destination.
The City of Cape Town is committed to doing everything possible to keep this city and South Africa open to protect the livelihoods of our residents. The tourism and hospitality sector needs every ounce of support we can offer.