United Airlines returns to Africa with direct flights between USA and South Africa


Updated: March 7, 2021

United Airlines is returning to Africa after a three-year absence with direct fights between the United States and South Africa, the company has announced.

Pending government approvals, the new international route between Newark in New Jersey, and Cape Town in South Africa, will be the first nonstop flight between North America and Cape Town.

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USA Today quoted Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network, as saying that the airline is adding Cape Town because it’s the largest unserved destination between North America and Africa.

“We’re focused on creating unique opportunities for our passengers,” he said. 

USA TODAY says “travelers headed to Cape Town from the United States on any airline today have to make a stop, typically in Europe on U.S. carriers or elsewhere in Africa on African carriers”.

According to United Airlines, the new nonstop flight, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, will shave hours off travelers’ trips to and from Cape Town. 

The southbound flight is scheduled for 14½  hours, the return about 16 hours. At 7,817 miles, it will be the airline’s sixth longest route, the newspaper said.

United said the wide-body jet will accommodate 252 passengers with 48 in Polaris business class, 88 in Economy Plus and 116 in economy class.

“Newark-Cape Town will be the airline’s 22nd new international route in the past two years and sixth new international dot on its route map. Other new destinationsinclude  Naples, Italy, and Prague and Porto, Portugal,” USA TODAY said.


Simon Ateba Washington DC
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com


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