US airline Delta now hopes to fly Cape Town, Atlanta from mid-December

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Major US airline Delta has delayed the start of its new non-stop service between Cape Town and the US, it confirmed to Fin24 on Thursday.

The delay is as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and on-going government travel restrictions.  

The new flight is now scheduled to start flying from Cape Town to Atlanta on December 14, 2020.

In terms of lockdown level 2 currently in force in SA,

No international commercial flights are allowed as yet in 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.

Delta has initially hoped to start with commercial flights to SA in October. 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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