United Airlines will once again be a six continent carrier. For four months during the northern Winter the company plans to serve Cape Town, South Africa from its hub in Newark. The service will operate from 15 December 2019 to March 2020 with flights three times a week, pending government approval.
We are always looking at ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more convenient options. We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Africa to our global route offering. This new flight will provide customers with the only nonstop service between the United States and Cape Town.– Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network
United will fly a 787-9 on the route with flight times well suited to sleeping in both directions. The proposed schedule departs Newark at 8:30pm arriving in Cape Town at 6:00 the following evening. The return flight departs Cape Town at 8:50pm and arrives in Newark at 5:45am the following morning. These times are also well suited for connecting traffic. The company says more than 80 US markets will enjoy one-stop connections with the new flight.
As with prior, similar route launches, expect that United would consider increasing frequencies or extending the season, possibly even going year round, if the route proves successful. Service from San Francisco to Tahiti is a strong example of a recent route that quickly adjusted as strong demand supported the efforts.
While the new service will be the only nonstop between the US and Cape Town and the first by a US carrier it is not the first such flight. South African Airways previously operated from Cape Town to Miami and Atlanta, depending on which US airline partner was in vogue. Those flights ended decades ago.
Adding Cape Town to the route map brings the carrier back to Africa. It last served the continent with flights between Houston and Lagos. That service ended in mid-2016.