SAA urged to retain Buenos Aires route

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Western Cape tourism minister Alan Winde has called for urgent talks with South African Airways chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe following the carrier’s decision to cancel its Johannesburg-Buenos Aires route next year.

"Ahead of peak tourism season this is a particular blow. It does not inspire confidence in South Africa’s air access strategy. If we are serious about investment, exports and tourism, we need more direct routes, not less," says Winde.

The South African national carrier plans to cancel the route as part of a new turnaround plan outlined earlier this year.

Last month, a group of tour operators from Argentina wrote to public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba and SAA in a bid to save the direct flights. The tour operators estimated that the value of inbound tourism from Argentina to South Africa was over R400 million ($40 million).

State-owned SAA says the meeting is being handled through the shareholder department of the public enterprises department.