United Airlines has officially announced that it has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for more flights to Cape Town.
The application is for the Washington DC-Cape Town route (as reported in Tourism Update in March, here), and the airline wants three flights a week, non-stop and direct.
If approved, United's flights will become the first nonstop service ever between Washington DC and South Africa's legislative capital, Cape Town.
The route will benefit important government-to-government connections and increase communication and commerce with a region that has strong cultural ties to South Africa.
United's proposed service would begin on November 17, using a B787-900, maximised to meet consumer demand and benefit both US and South African travellers.
If approved, the flights between Washington and Cape Town will connect 55 cities across the US to Cape Town, representing more than 90% of the entire US travel demand to Cape Town.
"From creating new jobs, to supporting key civic and aid organisations, United has taken tremendous pride in growing our family and operations in South Africa, and across the African continent," said Patrick Quayle, United's Senior VP of International Network and Alliances.
"If awarded by the DOT, this historic non-stop service will significantly enhance travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries’ legislative and diplomatic epicentres, and benefit thriving travel and tourism industries serving our respective countries,” he added.
The Washington DC to Cape Town route is the largest route between the US and South Africa without a non-stop service. DC is the second-largest point in the US for Cape Town demand and is home to the fifth-largest South African-born population.
United's proposed weekly flights will address this gap and complement the airline’s existing South Africa service between New York/Newark and Cape Town and Johannesburg, providing nearly daily services to Cape Town offered by a single carrier.