US airline Delta to start new Cape Town-US service

The SA government expects international commercial flights to resume in 2020.
The SA government expects international commercial flights to resume in 2020.
Delta/Supplied

Major US airline Delta hopes to start service between Cape Town and Atlanta in October this year, subject to government approvals, it said in a statement on Friday. 

Before the coronavirus flight bans, Delta offered flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg only.

The South African government currently foresees that international commercial flights will only be able to resume early next year. However, the local aviation industry, as well as the tourism industry, have been lobbying for flight restrictions to be eased earlier. 

Under lockdown level 3, limited domestic flights for business travel have been allowed. 

Delta said in the statement on Friday that it will use its flagship Airbus A350-900 on the route, one of the newest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in its fleet.

The Airbus A350-900 cannot do the return flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta non-stop due to Johannesburg's altitude preventing it from taking off with a full payload at the same time as having full fuel tanks. To keep the Johannesburg route operational, Delta needs to make a stop in Cape Town - at sea level - on the return flight to the US.

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, said in the statement that he welcomes the introduction of another direct flight from North America to the Mother City, which holds the promise of increased tourism, trade and investment once international inbound travel resumes.


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