Europe-South Africa aviation: Virgin Atlantic mulls Cape Town

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Virgin Atlantic Airways' new network plan for an expanded London Heathrow airport appear to confirm that it is considering the relaunch of a direct flight between London and Cape Town. Previously the airline operated from Heathrow to Cape Town, but withdrew in 2015.

The city pair is currently dominated by British Airways. Based on the northern winter 2020/2021 schedule, BA operates 17 weekly frequencies between London and Cape Town (14 from Heathrow and three from Gatwick), while Thomas Cook's demise removes the only other competitor (it was to operate three weekly frequencies), based on the week of 6-Jan-2020 (source: OAG).

More broadly, the aviation market between Europe and South Africa has experienced unspectacular growth over the past three years, after a four-year period of no growth between 2012 and 2016.

It may be ripe for further stimulation.

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