South African Airways is launching direct flights from Johannesburg to New York in a move that reflects the burgeoning business and tourism links between the City of Gold and the Big Apple. BTN takes a look at the growing synergy of the two financial hubs of their respective continents.
The move comes as part of SAA’s overall strategy to boost its international services, with Johannesburg strengthening its position as the major aviation hub of Sub Saharan Africa.
Theunis Potgieter, SAA’s General Manager: Commercial said: “SAA now offers the fastest and most comfortable way to commute between Southern Africa and this major global hub. Travellers originating from other domestic points and Southern African countries like Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola and Zambia and as far north as Kenya and Tanzania, can now be in New York with a single, quick connection via Johannesburg”, says Potgieter
SAA, which was recognised by the World Travel Awards as “Africa’s Leading Airline” in 2010, will utilize the Airbus 340-600 when operations start on 1 May 2011.
(Direct flights between the City of Gold and the Big Apple will start on 1 May)
“Our non-stop flights to New York will allow a full day in Johannesburg with an early morning arrival in New York. Further, the reduced travel time result in fast and efficient connections to several key US destinations such as Boston, Chicago, Florida, California, as well as Canada and the Caribbean,” Potgieter added.
The new service reflects the growing volume of business being conducted between the two nations. Johannesburg in particular is evolving rapidly as the financial and business capital of Africa.
(South African Airways picks up “Africa’s Leading Airline” at 2010 World Travel Awards. Pictured Thabani Mkhize, Brand Marketing Manager and Ntombi Mekgwe, with David Falcon, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards)
The City of Gold is also beefing up its hospitality infrastructure to reflect the rapid growth. In the past 24 months alone, it has opened 19 new hotels, adding to a host of infrastructure upgrades.
In February, the city plays host to Meetings Africa 2011, a three-day hospitality conference that is expected to draw delegates from across the continent.
Business travel is now one of the fastest growing sector of the overall travel and tourism economy in South Africa, and now contributes over R2 billion in foreign exchange revenues and 4.7 percent of foreign arrivals.
Meetings Africa 2011 is also expected to showcase the huge infrastructure progress Johannesburg has made over the past few years, and in particular the gains it made in preparing for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
On a leisure level, U.S. residents bought more tickets to the 2010 World Cup than any other country apart from South Africa itself.
According to the South African organizing committee and FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, more than 130,000 of the 2.8 million tickets were purchased by U.S. residents, the highest total by any country other than South Africa.
(Miss Worlds at Joburg’s incredible Soccer City)
An estimated 40,000 Americans attended the tournament, with many of these also enjoying extended stays away from the stadiums by visiting traditional South African favourites such as Kruger National Park and Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
On the domestic market, SAA will increase the seats available on the Johannesburg to Cape Town route by operating an additional scheduled flight on a wide body aircraft.
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