United Airlines plans non-stop service between Jo'burg and US

The airline hopes tickets will be available for sale on its website in the coming weeks.
The airline hopes tickets will be available for sale on its website in the coming weeks.
  • Major US airline United Airlines plans to expand its global route network with a new, non-stop daily service between South Africa and the United States.
  • The new route is subject to SA government approval and the airline hopes tickets will be available for sale on its website in the coming weeks.
  • It also plans to continue its seasonal three times weekly service between Cape Town and New York/Newark.
  • However, no international commercial flights are allowed in SA yet under lockdown Level 2. 


Major US airline United Airlines on Wednesday announced plans to expand its global route network with a new, non-stop daily service between South Africa and the United States.

The new route is subject to SA government approval and the airline hopes tickets will be available for sale on its website in the coming weeks.

Starting in South Africa's autumn 2021, United hopes to operate between Johannesburg and New York/Newark. It also plans to continue its seasonal three times weekly service between Cape Town and New York/Newark.

"This new nonstop service will strengthen our international route network and provide our customers from South Africa with even greater travel choice and the possibility to connect via our New York/Newark hub to destinations across the Americas," said Marcel Fuchs, United's managing director international sales, in a statement. "Connecting Johannesburg to New York will open up new opportunities for both business and leisure travellers."

Located very close to Manhattan, the Newark Liberty International Airport offers "the fastest surface transfer journeys to many parts of the city", according to Fuchs.

United's new service from Johannesburg to New York/Newark will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Another major US airline, Delta, announced at the end of August that it hopes to start a new direct flight between Cape Town and Atlanta in the US on December 14, 2020.

Flight restrictions

No international commercial flights are allowed as yet to or from South Africa under Level 2 of the lockdown. The government has not yet given any indication of when the country's borders will be opened again.

Before the coronavirus flight bans, Delta offered flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg only. It plans to use its flagship Airbus A350-900 for the SA flights - one of the newest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in its fleet. The aircraft can, however, not do a return flight from Johannesburg as the altitude there prevents it from taking off with a full payload at the same time as having full fuel tanks.

To keep the direct route from Atlanta to Johannesburg operational, Delta, therefore, will do the return trip to the US as a direct flight from Cape Town to Atlanta.

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