- Özgür Töre
United Airlines announced new direct flights between Washington Dulles Airport and Cape Town, becoming the first airline to provide nonstop roundtrip service from the U.S. capital to South Africa.
The U.S. Department of Transportation granted the airline three weekly direct flights, which will commence on November 17, 2022 (subject to approval by the South Africa Government). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online or through the United app. United started seasonal service from New York/Newark to Cape Town in 2019 and expanded to year-round service in 2022. United has more flights to South Africa than any other North American airline.
"We are thrilled to further expand our Africa offering with this first-ever direct link between Washington DC and Cape Town," said Patrick Quayle, United's Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances.
"These new flights build upon our existing year-round New York/Newark to Cape Town service – together they'll provide a near-daily pattern from the U.S. to Cape Town along with connectivity to the broader region through our Airlink partnership."
United will soon offer a total of 19 weekly flights to Africa - in addition to these new flights to Cape Town, the airline launched nonstop flights from New York/Newark to Johannesburg and Washington D.C. to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria in 2021.
Prior to the new United flight, Washington, D.C. to Cape Town was the largest route between the U.S. and Cape Town without nonstop service, and D.C. is also home to the fifth largest South-African-born population. United's new flights will connect Cape Town to 55 U.S. cities, representing more than 92% of the U.S. travel demand. The new flights will also allow customers to connect in Cape Town to other points in South Africa, and to other countries in the southern region of the African continent with United's South African based partner Airlink and their Cape Town hub.
United will fly a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on this new route, which features 48 lie-flat, United Polaris® business class seats, 21 United Premium Plus® seats and 188 economy seats. All seats are equipped with seatback on-demand entertainment to help customers pass the time and relax during their travels.
United maintains a close relationship with the Mandela Foundation and BPESA (Business Processing Enabling South Africa) a not-for-profit company that serves as the industry body and trade association for Global Business Services in South Africa. The airline recently announced a collaboration with travel company Certified Africa, whose mission is to make travel to African countries easy, immersive, and life changing for millions of the African Diaspora across the United States.