In a major show of confidence, Virgin Atlantic (VS) plans to reinstate a direct flight between Cape Town and London as early as January. Frequencies are to be confirmed but meantime the airline has noted an immediate spike in bookings on its Johannesburg route for travel in December and January following the announcement that South Africa would be removed from the UK’s ‘red list’, which came into effect on Monday (October 11).
The trade was jubilant over the news, with virgin’s manager, marketing and communications Africa, Darrin Thomas, saying that confirmation that South Africa’s dominant vaccine strains would suffice for outbound pax was especially positive.
VS head of Middle East, Africa & South Asia, Liezl Gericke, reported a 460% week-on-week increase in bookings during the first weekend of October before the announcement. Although bookings were from a low base, Gericke said London Heathrow-Johannesburg had risen to one of the top-five selling routes on the VS network, with most bookings for travel in December and January.
“VS currently operates three passenger flights a week from LHR to JNB, and this will increase to a daily service by the end of the year. We remain committed to Cape Town, and this service will restart in January 2022,” said Gericke.
The airline told Travel News that further updates about the Cape Town route would be shared with trade partners in due course, but confirmed that January could be a realistic start date.
- Travel News