United to return to African market
United Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation for authority to begin new service between its Newark Liberty International hub and Cape Town International Airport. It hopes to open the three-weekly route in December 2019 using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
The market between Cape Town and the US is currently unserved although South African Airways and Delta Air Lines operate daily service from OR Tambo International Airport to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport respectively.
The airline’s non-stop service between Newark and Cape Town will decrease the current travel time from New York to the South African city by more than four hours. Captetown hub will enable passengers to connect to SAA network throughout south African continent.
If approved, the route will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 48 seats in business class, 88 in economy plus and 116 in economy.
According to figures from Sabre Market Intelligence, 53 800 passengers travelled between New York and Cape Town in 2018, 38.6 percent of which flew via Johannesburg.