United Airlines to offer nonstop flights to Cape Town starting December 15, 2019. This is a seasonal route operating through March 2020. Pending government approval, tickets will go on sale in May. TheUnited Airline flights will operate on the new 787-9 Dreamliner fleet from Newark. United Airlines has made a lot of investments in flying long haul. They fly non-stop to Singapore, and Houston – Sydney. Not all of their bets have worked. For instance, they’ve abandoned Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop (bulking up their San Francisco flying) and Houston – Sydney service has been cut back.
In contrast, American Airlines hasn’t launched anything really long haul since they added Los Angeles – Hong Kong to their Dallas – Hong Kong service. American flies to Sydney and to Auckland, something they’ve scaled back waiting on the US government to approve their joint venture with Qantas.
While American’s executives have been talking more about India (and Africa) they avoid service – especially long haul service – where they don’t have a connecting partner on the other end. That’s why the best bet for American Airlines to serve Africa will be Morocco.
United’s Star Alliance has partners in Africa already – Ethiopian and South African – and United is willing to experiment long haul.
Even though their South Africa partner is exceptionally weak – indeed, perhaps because South African Airways is so weak – United is launching Newark – Cape Town service.
Currently South African flies daily non-stop New York JFK – Johannesburg. United stopped serving Africa 3 years ago with the end of Houston – Lagos, Nigeria service.
The new United service will commence December 15, operated with a Boeing 787-9.
|New York/Newark||Cape Town||8:30 p.m.||6:00 p.m. +1||Boeing 787-9|
|Cape Town||New York/Newark||8:50 p.m.||5:45 a.m. +1||Boeing 787-9|
South Africa is struggling. Cape Town especially has struggled. The usual play to fly to South Africa would be Johannesburg, picking up connecting feed there from South Africa Airways. Cape Town non-stop is an unusual play.
Indeed, there’s very little non-stop service from Europe to Cape Town. For instance, British Airways flies from London (South African no longer serves the route). KLM serves it from Amsterdam. There’s non-daily service from Frankfurt and Paris and non-daily Edelweiss service from Zurich. A US non-stop will be a first. This is certainly a gamble but United has seemed to be in a gambling mood, willing to experiment, fail, and adjust their route network.
Source: Boarding Area