Western Cape out of the pandemic woods


Seen here at the Cape Town International Airport arrivals is Qatar Airways. Photo supplied

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – THE Western Cape tourism agency will forthwith halt comparisons with pre-COVID numbers when reporting on figures around airport arrivals.

This as international arrivals at the Cape Town International Airport, exceed levels last seen before the pandemic.

The Western Cape Tourism, Trade, and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro), confirmed the development.

Wesgro noted the domestic passenger recovery remained stable, with March 2023 recording a 75 percent passenger recovery when compared to the same period in 2019.

Overall, the domestic terminal handled 577 855 two-way passengers for the month, which is the highest recorded number in three years.

Passenger performance at the international terminal continues to improve.

In March 2023, it recorded a 103 percent recovery when compared to March 2019, with 273 000 two-way passengers passing through the terminal.

The first quarter of 2023 saw a 104 percent recovery compared to 2019, re-iterating the positive growth trajectory for the international terminal.

Wesgro disclosed two-way air cargo volumes recorded 4 355 metric tonnes traded for the month of January, with a recovery percentage of 73 percent when compared to the same period in 2020.

“Although this is a drop from December, it is still the highest volume recorded for the month of January since 2020,” the agency stated.

The month-on-month decline is attributed to current global trends, which indicate that air cargo demand has fallen in competition with ocean container rates and the shift back to passenger aircraft belly-hold capacity instead of full freighter flights.

Wesgro projects air cargo volumes and demand to rise as China gradually re-enters the international market.

This stands to positively impact the Western Cape with China being a key trading partner for the destination.

Meanwhile, George Airport’s passenger numbers saw a slight month-on-month growth in March, with over 69 600 passengers travelling through the airport.

This equates to a 96 percent recovery when compared to the same period in 2019.

Arrivals are set to increase in the Western Cape in the coming weeks.

Eswatini Air will commence a new service from King Mswati III International Airport to Cape Town. The route will operate three times per week starting June 2.

FlyCemair commenced a new service between East London and Cape Town, starting April 6 with four flights per week.

The carrier will also be commencing a new service between George and Durban with two flights per week, starting June 2.

– CAJ News

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