(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
- Cape Town is attracting interest from US carriers, namely Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.
- Delta recently requested direct flights between Atlanta and Cape Town after an earlier call for a triangular route with Johannesburg was controversially rejected by South Africa’s Department of Transport.
- Now United Airlines, which already operates flights from New York to Cape Town, has asked to start flying direct from Washington DC.
- United wants three weekly flights between Washington DC and Cape Town to begin in November, according to a request filed Friday with the US Department of Transportation.
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United Airlines has requested direct flights between Washington DC and Cape Town to begin in November. The request follows United’s recent decision to increase flights from New York.
Cape Town is seeing renewed interest from US airlines following the easing of coronavirus travel restrictions. The United States (US) has become South Africa’s biggest source market for tourists in 2021, amid severe and prolonged European travel bans that have kept visitors away from Germany and the UK. United (United Kingdom).
Seeking to capitalize on this steady growth, US airlines – United and Delta – have been quick to return to South Africa, with a view to expanding their offerings in the coming months.
Delta Air Lines has restored direct flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg in the second half of 2021. The airline recently requested nonstop flights to Cape Town, after a previous call to include the destination as part of a route triangular with Johannesburg and Atlanta was controversially rejected by South Africa’s Department of Transport.
United Airlines returned to South Africa, with five weekly nonstop flights between Newark Liberty International Airport in New York and OR Tambo in Johannesburg, in June 2021. Its flight path to Cape Town, first launched in 2019 and then interrupted due to the global pandemic, is expected to be extended from June, with three non-stop flights per week, all year round.
These flights linking Cape Town and the United States have been cited as a major boost to the city’s struggling tourism sector. Member of Cape Town’s Mayor’s Committee for Economic Growth, James Vos, said United’s return was “important benefit for our economyand questioned Delta’s exclusion, adding that it “slowing down our post-Covid recovery.”
And while Delta Air Lines awaits approval for its direct flights to Cape Town, United Airlines has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation.
The app, filed Fridaydetails United’s plans for “scheduled foreign airlift of people, goods and mail between the United States and Cape Town, South Africa, three times a week, year-round, via Washington DC.”
In its application, United says it plans to begin service “on or near” November 17, 2022 using “a 257-seat Boeing 787-9 aircraft from its existing fleet.”
“Assigning these additional frequencies to United to extend service from the US East Coast to Cape Town is clearly in the public interest,” the airline’s request notes.
“In addition to seamlessly connecting major commercial and government hubs between the United States and South Africa and improving consumer options and convenience, awarding these frequencies to United will enhance competition with Delta. , which has been the historic U.S. carrier to mainland Africa for nearly two decades.”
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)