After SAA withdrew their daily Cape Town – London flights last year, citing lack of demand, British Airways has announced that the route is its third most popular, behind New York and Miami, but notably ahead of the international hubs of Dubai and Hong Kong.
Out of 175 destinations worldwide, only New York and Miami attracted more bookings than Cape Town, with Dubai the fourth most popular choice and Hong Kong the fifth.
Yeah – that’s what I just said.
Anyway, the apparent upshot of this news is that Cape Town may well be among the first cities to see BA’s new Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft, which are due for delivery in May this year.
BA’s Dreamliners will be configured to carry 214 passengers, with 35 seats in business class, 25 in economy plus and 154 in economy.
Not only will they have the latest Thales in-flight entertainment system, with larger screens in all cabins, but they will also allow personal devices, including laptops, to be connected, using in-seat power.
Which is all very nice, but doesn’t really make sense to me, given that this is one of their most popular routes and that the Boeing 747-400s which BA currently uses on the CPT-LHR route can carry almost twice as many passengers as the Dreamliner.
Here’s a really popular route. Let’s immediately halve the capacity of our flights on it.
How very SAA.
And for those of you who are wondering why BA doesn’t go the other ways and use something really huge, like an A380 on the Cape Town run, it’s because BA don’t own any A380s at the moment (they’ll get their first one in August) (yes, I was shocked at this too). And even if they did, Cape Town’s runway is too short to accommodate the big Airbus.
While Air France and Lufthansa both use A380s on their Joburg routes, the only sight Cape Town gets of them is during ceremonial flyovers.