It is vital for general economic growth in the Eastern Cape that Airlink does not scrap their flight routes between East London and Port Elizabeth.

The three largest cities in the Eastern Cape are Port Elizabeth, East London, and Mthatha.

As it is now, the Nelson Mandela Metropole is the largest economic hub within the province. Many businesses have links or subsidiaries in the East London and Mthatha hubs.

To axe this route would significantly increase business travel time between the three centres and make industry and thus economic growth less willing to jump the gap.

If business and industry is not allowed to grow in a balanced way across the province, it will not only affect the economy across the province, but the migration of the thousands of job-seekers from the Mthatha and East London hubs to the Nelson Mandela Metro will significantly increase unemployment in the Metropole. In turn crime can also be expected to increase significantly.

I have sent a letter to the Eastern Cape MEC of Economic Development, Mcebisi Jonas, to urgently intervene in this matter. I will be forwarding a similar appeal to the managing director of Airlink.

For further information, please contact John Cupido, MPL on 083 336 6987