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Virgin Atlantic relaunches Heathrow-Cape Town flight

13 February 2020

The City of Cape Town has welcomed the decision by Virgin Atlantic to relaunch daily flights between London Heathrow and Cape Town from October 2020.

In a statement this week, the airline announced that the seasonal service would start on October 25 and use a 264-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Said Liezl Gericke, head of Africa, Middle East and India at Virgin Atlantic: “I am thrilled of the reintroduction of this popular route; it will make it even easier for our customers to travel for business and leisure between South Africa and the United Kingdom – as well as creating additional cargo capacity for the route.”

“The daily service will not only enhance a vital link between Cape Town and the UK’s capital, but it also provides seamless connections via Heathrow to Europe and North America”.


Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, welcomed the announcement saying the new direct flight was testament to the hard work and dedication of the Cape Town Air Access team.

Cape Town Air Access is a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Wesgro, Airports Company of South Africa, Cape Town Tourism and South African Tourism, and is the focal point for international air route development in the region.

Said Alderman Vos: “The aviation economy is a key driver of growth through tourism and trade. I therefore welcome any increase in connections between South Africa and other destinations.”

“What is really exciting is the opportunity to attract more business and leisure travellers to our beautiful city. To grow the aviation economy, the City provides funding to the Air Access initiative which is mandated to expand current flight routes and to secure new routes to boost tourism and trade. We will continue to build on these successes by working with industries and strategic partners to invest in projects and programmes that will drive demand and make business sense.”


Deon Cloete, general manager of Cape Town International Airport, said: “This is a prime route and will no doubt be very popular, especially given the frequency of the connection. This connection will help to create a more competitive environment which will improve the value proposition for passengers from a pricing and product perspective – having choice is always good news.”

We look forward to welcoming Virgin Atlantic to Cape Town and will play our part in ensuring a smooth start up at the airport. Well done to the Air Access team on these excellent results - we remain proud of this dynamic partnership!

Added Wesgro CEO Tim Harris: “A warm welcome back to Virgin Atlantic and its connection to London Heathrow. The UK is the top market for Cape Town and the Western Cape, in terms of both trade and travel, so this addition to the Cape Town air route network will only serve to strengthen business and tourism between the regions.”

This increased air access will also make a significant impact on jobs and growth as 3 000 jobs are supported by each regularly scheduled long-haul flight, and for every 10% increase in passenger numbers the regional economy grows by 2%.

About Cape Town Air Access

Cape Town Air Access is a collaborative, award-winning project, supported by a partnership with the private and public sectors. Since its launch in 2015, the project has landed 17 new routes – including this Virgin Atlantic service – and facilitated 22 route expansions for the Cape. This has increased Cape Town International Airport’s capacity by over 750 000 seats, which last year helped the airport reach the 11 million passenger per year mark for the first time.