Gulf carrier Qatar Airways is to significantly boost capacity to the South African city of Cape Town before the end of the year to meet growing demand on its route to Doha and further afield across its global network. The airline currently serves the destination as an extension of its existing flights to Johannesburg but from November will add it as a standalone terminus in its network.
Qatar Airways introduced flights on the Doha – Johannesburg – Cape Town route in January 2005 and currently operate the Cape Town extension three times weekly. From November 3, 2014 when the two South African destinations are split, the Gulf carrier will offer a five times weekly service to the Western Cape, which it describes as one of the airline’s “most popular” African destinations.
The network growth is being facilitated by the continuous growth of the airline’s fleet and the route will be operated by one of the carrier’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliners which are configured in a two-class arrangement with 22 Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats.
“We are very pleased that we are now able to offer our passengers a dedicated non-stop service between Doha and Cape Town. Cape Town has long been one of the most popular destinations with passengers throughout our worldwide network, and with the new services, we are now able to provide our customers with quicker and more convenient connections to one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” said His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer, Qatar Airways Group.
According to our own analysis, below, Qatar Airways carried approximately 62,000 passengers on its flights to and from Cape Town in 2013 up 64.2 per cent on its first year of operation to the destination in 2005, an average annual rise of 8.0 per cent during the period. Last year around 3.4 per cent of this demand began or ended journeys at its Doha hub with the remainder connecting to one of 426 different destinations.
The largest O&D market for Qatar Airways to/from Cape Town in 2013 was London Heathrow so the announcement of this new route was rather timely ahead of the news that Virgin Atlantic Airways would close its seasonal winter link on this route in April next year. Other key markets for passengers flying with the airline to/from Cape Town were Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and the Thai destinations of Bangkok and Phuket.