By Simon Shabangu | 2023-06-03
Eswatini Air’s debut flight to Cape Town yesterday was warmly welcomed at the Cape Town International Airport where it received a water canon salute.
The Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft touched down at the Mother City for the very first time amid a resounding welcome with the traditional baptism of water, which is a culture in the airline industry to welcome a new airline.
The local delegation, which was led by Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, arrived to a high powered delegation from the provincial government which included the mayoral member of Economic Affairs James Vos. Minister Rijkenberg was joined by Vos in the cutting of the ribbon to officially launch the new route by Eswatini Air.
This is the fourth route to be rolled out by the Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation (RENAC) since it started its operations about three months ago.
The delegation, which included legislators, chiefs and captains of industry, was later led to the media centre where speeches were made during the short programme where the city of Cape Town extended a message of welcome and support to Eswatini Air.
Minister Rijkenberg, who represented his counterpart from the ministry of works, informed the gathering that government was committed to ensuring that the airline grows and opens even more routes.
He said the direct connectivity between Cape Town and Eswatini would bare fruits for the country in the long run.
He said this was an investment which is not expected to yield fruits in the short term, but will bridge the gap that has long existed in the airline space.
“This is a long-term investment from where we are not expecting profits soon, but we know that going forward, it will yield the desired results. This is a sacrifice we are willing to take especially because there are a lot of positive spin-offs that will come through this endeavor,” he said.
He said Eswatini appreciated the support from the city of Cape Town, stating that there is a need for collaboration if this route would be sustainable in the long term. He said the warm reception for Eswatini gives confidence that the collaboration will work going forward.
“This route will make Eswatini easily accessible to the world because there is a lot of international airlines which fly direct to Cape Town. For us to be directly connected to one of the world’s best cities positions us well for more tourists coming to our country,” he said.
The minister appreciated the reception from the Cape Town City and expressed hope that the relations will continue in order for the route be a success story. He was adamant that the route would grow and generate revenue for the kingdom in the long-term.
The local delegation also included Senators Prince Magudvulela and Prince Mshengu, Chief Nkamane Ndwandwe of Lwandle, MP Muzi Kunene, PS Thulani Mkhaliphi, RENAC Board Chairman Mndeni Mazibuko, Tibiyo TakaNgwane GM Musa Mdluli and King’s Office’s Sihle Dlamini. Also in attendance were captains of industry from the banking sector, and tourism among others.
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