Cape Town Anticipates Boost From United’s Washington Route

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Cape Town (CPT) in South Africa is touting a new US connection with the start of United Airlines’ nonstop service from Washington Dulles (IAD).

United and Delta Air Lines were both granted permission by the US Transportation Department (DOT) in July to open new flights to Cape Town. Delta plans to launch Atlanta (ATL)-CPT flights from Dec. 17.

United commenced operating the IAD-CPT route on Nov. 17, becoming the only airline flying between the two airports. The carrier will operate the route 3X-weekly with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

United already serves CPT 3X-weekly from Newark (EWR) in New Jersey. The Star Alliance carrier also serves Johannesburg (JNB) from EWR. From IAD, United already operates to Accra (ACC) in Ghana and Lagos (LOS) in Nigeria.

South African Tourism noted in a statement that passengers will be able to connect beyond IAD to more than 60 United destinations in the Americas.

Nomasonto Ndlovu, COO of the tourism board, added: “The United States is a key source market for South Africa. We know that visitors from this market want to come experience our history and culture, our wildlife and safari, and of course our beautiful wide open spaces.”

The tourism bureau noted the US was Cape Town’s third largest international market in 2019: “For the first quarter of 2022, two-way passenger volumes between the United States and Cape Town exceeded 27,000 [passengers], representing a 51% recovery rate when compared to the same quarter in 2019. Based on previous route introductions, it is estimated that this [nonstop route to IAD] will result in a passenger stimulus of at least 25% for Cape Town.”

Cargo connectivity is also expected to gain from the new 787-9 service. The tourism board said cargo traffic between Cape Town and the US in the 2022 first quarter was 74% recovered compared to the 2019 March period.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.