Home Cape Town Virgin Atlantic will reinstate London to Cape Town route in December

Virgin Atlantic will reinstate London to Cape Town route in December

by InnsCape

Virgin Atlantic will reinstate London to Cape Town route in December first appeared on www.businessinsider.co.za.

Virgin Atlantic will resume its direct flight service from Heathrow, London, to Cape Town’s International Airport much earlier than anticipated, following an uptick in demand for the service.

The British airline’s first flight back to Cape Town will depart from 17 December, at the peak of the December holiday season sets in, with three flights planned per week.

The airline had only planned to relaunch its Cape Town service in January, but following the removal of South Africa from the UK’s red list, customer demand for the direct route has seen a significant spike, pushing it to return it sooner.

Flights from Cape Town will go on sale from 16 October. Virgin Atlantic will offer unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving customers flexibility and supporting future travel plans.

“The rebooking horizon has also been extended for all customers until 30 April 2023, giving a broader window of time to reschedule plans if needed,” the company said.

Liezl Gericke, Head of Africa, Middle East, and India, said there has been pent-up customer demand for travel to the UK and vice versa since South Africa was removed from the red list.

“The reintroduction of the Cape Town route will make it even easier for our customers to travel for business and leisure between South Africa and the United Kingdom,” Gericke said.

People in Britain were scrambling to book flights to South Africa soon after the UK officially dropped South Africa from the red list.

Virgin Atlantic halted passenger flights to and from South Africa last December after the discovery of the Covid-19 Beta variant, which was first detected in the Eastern Cape. It was largely behind the rapid increase in new infections, or South Africa’s second wave.

Virgin Atlantic was not the only airline to ban South African travellers; others, such as British Airways, imposed similar prohibitions for South African travellers.

The ramp up in flights was welcomed by the Western Cape’s minister for finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier.

“[We] look forward to seeing other airlines follow suit. The UK is a key investment, trade, and tourism market for the province, and we are positive that the renewed connectivity will offer a much-welcomed economic boost to the province across a multitude of sectors,” Maynier said. 

Wrenelle Stander, Air Access spokesperson and Wesgro’s CEO, said the return of the London Heathrow to Cape Town route is a clear sign of confidence in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

“The UK has always been our largest and most consistent long haul market, so the downstream potential for economic opportunity is exciting. Returning airlines also offer the added benefits of belly freight cargo, meaning that the impact will reach beyond tourism and impact positively into a variety of sectors,” Stander said.

Note: This article was updated to reflect the correct date Virgin Atlantic will resume its direct route between London and Cape Town. Its first departure will be on 17 December and not November as previously stated.

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