Source: Tourism Update
Two African airlines are looking to expand operations with direct flights to Cape Town.
Botswana-based BlueSky Airways is eyeing the Gaborone-Cape Town route for its maiden commercial flight at the end of the year.
BlueSky Airways, which has operated as a charter carrier since 2012, applied for its Air Operator Certificate in July this year. CEO, Mark Spicer, says he hopes to obtain the AOC by the end of September. “Our intention is to operate within two to three months of certification. This depends on approval of some of the routes, as there are international requirements that need to be met.”
Spicer says he has opted for Cape Town as the airline’s inaugural destination because there was no direct route to the Mother City when he started the BlueSky project in 2010. “We feel that there is a market for this route. The aircraft we are using, the B737, is perfect for the Gaborone -Cape Town route.”
Over time, Spicer hopes to establish Gaborone as a regional hub. He says although it would be impossible to surpass Johannesburg, a satellite hub in Botswana could have huge potential. “Gaborone has a very good geographical location in the centre of Southern Africa. Botswana is a progressive country with a stable economy. Many international businesses have moved their headquarters to Gaborone, which means there is a lot of business travel through Gaborone. Additionally tourism is on the rise and recently the Okavango Delta was listed with the World Heritage Site, which should boost tourism even more.”
Meanwhile, Kenya Airways is also looking at launching a direct service to Cape Town.
The airline’s COO, Mbuvi Ngunze, recently stated at the airline’s Dreamliner event press conference that it would be interested in expanding its footprint beyond the Nairobi-Johannesburg route.
“A Nairobi-Cape Town route is currently under consideration but no firm plans have been made as yet. This would certainly make a great deal of sense for us, both from a tourism perspective and because we already have sales representation in Cape Town. It would also be in keeping with our ten-year growth strategy, Project Mawingu,” he said.