United Airlines, as we previously reported, formally applied on May 18 to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a nonstop connection between Washington DC and Cape Town, to be flown three times a week. If approved, the Chicago-based airline will be the only carrier to offer operations between the U.S. legislative capital and South Africa.

The carrier’s proposed service would begin on November 17, 2022, and will be operated by 257-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with the new cabin products to meet the demand for business leisure between U.S. and South African travelers.

If the application is approved, Cape Town will be linked to 55 U.S. cities through United’s transatlantic hub in Washington (IAD), representing 90% of travel demand between the two nations.

From Dulles International Airport (IAD), the Chicago-based carrier offers more than 230 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations worldwide, including more than 10 world capitals and other African destinations such as Accra, Ghana (ACC) and Lagos, Nigeria (LOS).

«From creating new jobs to supporting key civic and aid organizations, United takes great pride in growing our family and our operations in South Africa and across the African continent,» said Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of international networks and alliances.

«If granted by the DOT, this historic nonstop service will significantly enhance travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries’ legislative and diplomatic epicenters, and benefit the thriving travel and tourism industries that serve our respective countries,» Quayle added.

Since 2021, United has expanded its network in Africa after a five-year absence from operating flights to the connector, currently the airline serves four African cities, plus the new service between Washington (IAD) and Cape Town (CPT) gives it the option to make connections within South Africa through Airlink, one of the airline’s partners.

United Airlines schedule in Africa

Newark (EWR)
  • Johannesburg (JNB) daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights.
  • Cape Town (CPT) three times weekly on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Washington Dulles (IAD)
  • Accra (ACC) daily flights on Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
  • Lagos (LOS) three times a week on Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

United Africa

According to data obtained by Aviacionline, for the summer season United will offer more than 44,000 seats per month between the United States and Africa, where it will be the fifth largest airline operator in this market.

The route between Washington and Cape Town is the most uninterrupted service between the U.S. and South Africa with no non-stop flights, plus the U.S. capital has the fifth largest population of South African descendants. If approved by DOT, United will operate six flights per week to South Africa’s largest city.

See also: United Airlines applies to DoT for flights between Washington and Cape Town

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