United Airlines begins service between Washington DC and Cape Town

LONDON – United Airlines, one of the airlines of the United States, has announced the launch of a service between Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) and Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (CTIA). The non-stop service will be scheduled three times a week and will mirror the already operational New York – Cape Town route, which operates out of Newark Airport.

She departed Dulles International for her maiden flight on November 17 at 6:40 p.m. The route, which takes about 14.5 hours aboard a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, is said to operate under service number UA 2222. The launch of this route means United is the first airline to offer non-stop, round-trip flights from Washington DC to Cape Town.

Historically, Cape Town is the United States’ third largest international market based on two-way passenger traffic. Passenger traffic between the two countries was 213,000 in the first quarter of 2019. When compared to first quarter passenger numbers for 2022, that represents a fifty-one percent increase in traffic.

The opening of the new route is expected to further contribute to tourism revenue in the Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities Mireille Wenger said: “Tourism is an important contributor to the Western Cape, supporting nearly 175,000 jobs and generating around R15.5 billion in gross value added to the economy in 2019.”

“So we are very excited to welcome United Airlines direct flights from New York. Not only do these flights boost tourism, but they also offer great opportunities to export goods from the Western Cape via air freight.”

With history, breathtaking landscapes and world-famous safaris on offer, Nomasonto Ndlovu, COO at South African Tourism said: “We invite American travelers to visit Cape Town and then also explore other parts of South Africa as we have a lot to offer in our nine provinces.”

The US-SA route is not only a corridor to the Southern Hemisphere, but also a major economic opportunity as outlined by Wrenelle Stander, CEO and Official Spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access: “The addition of United’s Washington, Dulles – Cape Town service alongside the existing Newark – Cape Town route will allow for the continued expansion of economic opportunities for Cape Town and the Western Cape.”

“The United States is an important source market for tourism, trade and investment for the province. We look forward to the upcoming summer season and would like to thank United Airlines for their continued commitment to our destination.” Stander concluded.

The route will be an important freight thoroughfare in addition to the tourist opportunities it opens up. Delivered 648 tons of cargo between November 2022 and March 2023. In 2021, a total of 2,384 tons of cargo were transported between Cape Town and the United States, demonstrating a 50% recovery rate compared to the same point in 2019.

“The landing of this flight from Washington demonstrates our strength of purpose and the success of the city’s mission to connect with more source markets through the Air Access initiative, clever campaigns and city-to-city agreements. My team and I will continue to work on such projects that will ensure more travel and trade to the Cape,” Wenger concluded.

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