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Cape Town Air Access- a blueprint for air service development in Africa?

Since the inception of the Cape Town Air Access team in 2015, Cape Town has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth. Their Air Access project manager, Paul van den Brink, will be addressing delegates at the upcoming AviaDev Africa event, which will take place this October in Kigali, Rwanda. AviaDev is the only dedicated route development event for the continent taking place in 2017.

Ahead of the event, we spoke to Paul to gather some further insight into the makeup and mission of the air access team.

The Cape Town air access team was set up 2 years ago. What prompted its creation and who is involved?

 Initiative of City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Cape Town Tourism, Airports Company SA (ACSA) and Wesgro (trade, investment and tourism promotion agency of Cape Town and the Western Cape) to improve the air accessibility to Cape Town.

SAA skipped all direct international routes from CPT to focus on its main hub at ORTIA this gap had to be filled.

Has it been a successful initiative?

In a two year period (1 July 2015 until May 2017) 9 new routes and 10 route expansions were added to the CPT network, adding over 600,000 seats to its international capacity. For the first time in its existence CPT reached the 10 mln passenger per year landmark in 2016. In quarter 1 2017 the number of international traffic in up by 27%.

How do you keep all of the different stakeholders happy?

Airlines – Besides new routes and route expansion we focus on route retention. We try to engage as much as possible with our current airlines and cooperate with them to optimize load factors for them.

Besides we have a steering committee with our founding partners every quarter to keep them updated and receive their input. We now also engage with the private sector and learn from their needs and wishes. Communications is key.

Do you feel that other African cities/regions could benefit from adopting a similar approach?

Yes if: You know what you sell, have a coordinated approach, have up to date data.

If you have one piece of advice for a destination looking to set up an air access committee, what would it be?

Be realistic; what is your value proposition, How can you assist an airline with its business case? Do what you promise!

Hear more from Paul and the Cape Town team at AviaDev Africa. Register now at www.aviationdevelop.com

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