Heathrow to Cape Town route axed by SAA

Daily direct flights between London and Cape Town are being axed by South African Airways to avoid losses amid a drop in demand.

The carrier will close the Cape Town route in August after 20 years when two daily flights with increased capacity to Johannesburg will become its only Heathrow service.

Reasons cited included a 24% drop in demand between the UK and South Africa for all carriers in the past three years, as well as dwindling passengers from Cape Town to London as a destination and for onward connections.

SAA commercial general manager Theunis Potgieter said: “A thorough analysis of the route made it clear that we could use our aircraft more profitably elsewhere while continuing to ensure excellent business and tourism links via Johannesburg.

“It is also clear that we would lose money on the direct route in the future, whereas it is possible for us to operate more optimally between Cape Town and London via our Johannesburg hub.”

SAA said the move will see aircraft from the axed route serve routes to India and west African capitals.

“Serving the Cape Town-London route via Johannesburg will have an immediate positive effect on SAA’s bottom line,” said the airline.

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