Cape Town wins Routes Africa Marketing Award

Cape Town International Airport in South Africa has been rewarded for its network development initiatives after being announced as the overall winner of the Routes Africa edition of the Routes 2016 Marketing Awards which were formally announced last night during the Networking Evening event which took place at Finca Punta del Lomo, a rural complex built on a banana plantation in Tenerife, Canary Islands. The award was collected on behalf of the airport by ACI Africa, secretary general, Ali Tounsi.

The airport has seen a significant increase in passenger movement. For the financial year of 2015/2016 the overall passenger numbers grew by 10 percent from just over 8.7 million in the previous year to just under 9.7million for 2015. Scheduled air traffic movements totalled 79,551 movements in 2015, growing by 12 percent. Domestic passenger numbers grew by 11 percent while a noteworthy growth was seen in the regional numbers with a 19 percent growth and International 8 percent growth respectively compared to the prior year.

Growing by nearly one million passengers in a financial year is no small feat. This double digit growth is expected to continue and the airport is well poised for its next major milestone, breaking the 10 million passenger per annum barrier.

“Through a collaborative multi stakeholder approach, focused strategies and initiatives have been put in place to retain the current base, expand the base and to grow and establish new markets. A primary focus of the Cape Town Air Access team going forward is to connect to North America and Asia, to ensure broad global connectivity to the region,” said Ms Davids.

Ultimately, the Cape Town Air Access team, a division of Wesgro and focal point for international air route development in the Western Cape, aims to utilise business synergies to maximise opportunities and provide better air access in the Western Cape. Its stakeholders include The Western Cape Provincial Government; The City of Cape Town (CoCT); Airports Company South Africa (ACSA); Cape Town Tourism and the private sector.

This is being achieved by establishing more non-stop flights to strategic markets, increasing non-stop connectivity to global and regional hubs, ensuring frequent flight schedules (min 3-4 times a week), anchoring year-round services to establish supply stability to key markets and providing a more competitive landscape that reduces ticket prices.

The results of the partnership speak for themselves. Since its inception the team has successfully delivered over 400,000 additional two-way direct seats through route establishment and route expansion up until and including December 2016 – 78 percent of these additional seats have been added in 2016.

In total, the Cape Town Air Access team has assisted in establishing five new routes and expanding three existing routes. These comprise new flights from Airlink to Maun, Botswana; Kenya Airways to Nairobi, Kenya and Livingstone, Zambia; British Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines to London Gatwick; and Lufthansa to Frankfurt. Frequency increases have also been introduced by Emirates Airline, Ethiopian Airlines and KLM.

The airport has a major capital investment programme (subject to Regulatory approval) with the realignment of its runway being one of the bigger projects costing just over R3 billion. This development is about enabling and will allow the airport to handle the larger Code F operations such as the Airbus A380. Plans also include a new Domestic Arrivals Terminal and an extended International Departure Lounge.

The Western Cape is a vibrant province that boasts economic growth that is above par in South Africa and the rest of Africa. “This growth is not only attributable to the inherent attractions of the province, the resourcefulness and ingenuity of its citizens and its well-positioned growth sectors, but also to its access to global markets,” said a Cape Town International Airport official.

“This access is hard-won due to the Cape’s geographic position at the southernmost tip of Africa. “As such air access – the availability of the consistent supply of air service capacity – is the principal mechanism whereby the Cape connects to the world,” they added.

The Africa edition of the awards, which are voted exclusively by airlines, are split into three categories comprising of two airport categories, split by size and a destination category for the best destination marketing campaign by a tourism authority.

Cape Town International Airport was also named as the winner in the over four million passengers category, while Abidjan International Airport was honoured in the under 4 million passengers category and Seychelles Tourist Board in the Destination Marketing category.

Created almost 20 years ago in 1997 to recognise excellence in airport marketing as rewarded by airlines, the annual Routes awards provide the airline community with the chance to have their say as to which airport they think provides the best overall marketing services to them.

“We’re delighted to mark the achievements of all of our nominated airports and destinations in the third regional heat of the Routes Marketing Awards. Year-on-year we are impressed by the calibre of the submissions,” said Adrian Newton, Group Director, Aviation & Technology, UBM EMEA who presented the awards.

As overall winner of tonight’s awards, Cape Town International Airport will be automatically shortlisted for their category at the World Routes Awards in Chengdu, China on September 26, 2016. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Auckland Airport and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board are also shortlisted from previous regional wins at Routes Europe, Routes Asia and Routes Americas.

A respected panel of judges made up of senior members of the airline network planning community reviewed airline nominations and submissions from the nominated airports in order to determine the winners.

The panel consisted of the following experts:
Girma Shiferaw, Ethiopian Airlines
Richard Bodin, fastjet
Matome Ramokgobedi, South African Airways

The full list of companies shortlisted under each award category were as follows:

Overall Winner
Cape Town International Airport

Over 4 Million Passengers
Accra Kotoka International Airport
Cairo International Airport
Cape Town International Airport - WINNER
Durban King Shaka International Airport
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Under 4 Million Passengers
Abidjan Port Bouet Airport - WINNER
Harare International Airport
Libreville Leon M'ba International Airport
Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
Seychelles International Airport

Destination Award
Côte d'Ivoire Tourisme
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority
Seychelles Tourism Board - WINNER
Tourism KZN

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…