Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, launched flights to Cape Town, South Africa’s second most populous city and the country’s leading tourist destination, from its Abu Dhabi home-base. The new flights operate via the airline’s current daily Airbus A330 service to South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg. Cape Town is Etihad’s second destination in South Africa and its fifth on the African continent, joining Khartoum, Cairo and Casablanca.
A delegation of Etihad Airways management and VIPs will be aboard the inaugural flight which departs from Abu Dhabi airport at 10.20pm and arrives in Cape Town at 8.30am the following morning (all times are local).
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “South Africa is a leading global destination of choice for tourism and commerce and we are thrilled to launch a daily service to Cape Town, our second city in the country.
“In addition to the strong demand for flights from expatriate South African nationals, business and leisure travellers, many thousands of football fans are expected to travel there next year when South Africa hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
Etihad started flights to Johannesburg in December 2005 and has since then established itself as one of the airline’s most successful destinations.
The new Cape Town service is expected to be welcomed by the South African expatriate community living in the UAE which now stands at approximately 40,000 people. Many more South African nationals live across the Middle East region and also will be able to connect quickly and easily back home via Abu Dhabi.
Cape Town is the provincial capital of the Western Cape, as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where the national parliament and many government offices are situated.
The city is South Africa’s premier tourist destination offering many highlights including the iconic Table Mountain, V & A waterfront, the beaches of Camps Bay, and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.