United and Delta Receive DOT Approval to Start New Flights to Cape Town


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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively approved applications from United and Delta to begin new service to Cape Town (CPT), with both airlines providing three weekly flights.

Bilateral Development

DOT has negotiated with the Republic of South Africa Department of Transport (SADoT) to increase bilateral agreements by two frequencies to meet demand from U.S. carriers to operate in the African country.

On June 22, the SADoT reported that, if the airlines meet certain conditions, the two requested frequencies may be agreed to in the bilateral agreement between the two countries. The DOT is waiting for the South African entity to fulfill the commitment to increase frequencies in the U.S.-South Africa Bilateral Agreement, currently U.S. operators can fly 21 weekly flights between countries.

SADoT is expected to grant both carriers’ applications by August 15, 2022. Separately, the DOT has received assurance from the South African government that the two extra frequencies in the Agreement will be allocated.

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If the DOT’s decision is final, both carriers must open within 90 days of November 17, or else these frequencies will be returned to the DOT and will have to be reallocated again. Both carriers have the option to adjust their routes depending on the seasonality of the market.

Delta Air Lines Proposed Service

  • Atlanta (ATL) 20:45 – Cape Town (CPT) 18:45+1 three flights weekly
  • Cape Town (CPT) 21:00 – Atlanta (ATL) 06:25+1 three flights weekly

The carrier proposes to begin service on November 18 and will be operated on Airbus A350-900 aircraft with a seating capacity of 306 (32 Delta One Suites/48 Premium Select/36 Delts Comfort+/190 Economy).

See also: Delta Airlines applies to DOT for flights to Cape Town

Proposed United Airlines service

  • Washington Dulles (IAD) 18:30 – Cape Town (CPT) 16:15+1 Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • Cape Town (CPT) 21:00 – Washington Dulles (IAD) 06:00+1 Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The airline proposes to start the route from November 17 and will be operated on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a seating capacity of 257 (48 Polaris Business Class/21 Premium Plus/39 Economy Plus/149 Economy).

See also: United Airlines applies to launch nonstop flights between Washington DC and Cape Town

Market between the United States and South Africa

According to data obtained by Aviacionline through Cirium, 8,812 seats per week are currently available between the U.S. and South Africa on 32 air operations, an increase of 3.5% over pre-pandemic levels, with United being the largest operator in this market with a 58.4% share and Delta with 41.6%.

After South African Airways exited the U.S. market due to its financial restructuring, U.S. carriers have been filling the void left by the South African carrier.

Flight schedule between the U.S. and South Africa

Retrieved from Cirium (subject to change)

Delta Air Lines
  • Atlanta (ATL) – Johannesburg (JNB) six times a week on Airbus A350-900s
United Airlines
  • Newark (EWR) – Johannesburg daily flights on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Newark (EWR) – Cape Town (CPT) three times a week on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Rainer Nieves Dolande
Rainer Nieves Dolande
Editor para Norteamérica, Medio Oriente y Asia - Pacífico Para consultas o pedidos editoriales por favor escribir a redaccion@aviacionline.com // For editorial inquiries or requests please write to redaccion@aviacionline.com

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