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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

United to Launch Nonstop Service Between Washington and Cape Town

United Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the launch the first ever nonstop flights between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town, South Africa.

The proposed three weekly service will begin on 17 November, 2022, and will be operated by an ultra-modern Boeing 787-9 aircraft, maximized to enhance the in-flight experience of passengers.

The service will supplement United's existing flights to four cities in three countries in Africa. It will also allow customers to connect in Cape Town to other points in South Africa, and to other countries in the southern region of the African continent with its South African based partner Airlink and their Cape Town hub.

The Washington-Cape Town route will benefit important government-to-government connections and increase communication and commerce with a region that has strong cultural ties to South Africa.

The flights between Washington Dulles International Airport and Cape Town will connect 55 cities across the United States to Cape Town, representing more than 90% of the entire U.S. travel demand to Cape Town.

United's Washington Dulles hub is a gateway to the nation's capital and elsewhere, operating more than 230 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations around the world, including more than 10 world capitals and new service to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria.

"From creating new jobs, to supporting key civic and aid organizations, United has taken tremendous pride in growing our family and operations in South Africa, and across the African continent," said Patrick Quayle, United's Senior Vice President of International Network and Alliances.

"If awarded by the DOT, this historic nonstop service will significantly enhance travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries legislative and diplomatic epicenters, and benefit thriving travel and tourism industries serving our respective countries."

The Washington D.C. to Cape Town route is the largest unserved route between the U.S. and South Africa. Washington D.C. is the second largest point in the U.S. for Cape Town demand and holds the fifth largest South-African-born population.

United's proposed weekly flights will address this gap and complement United's existing South Africa service between New York/Newark and Cape Town and Johannesburg, providing nearly daily service to Cape Town by a single carrier.

United Airlines has worked diligently to develop an African network to promote competition and provide affordable and consistent service options for U.S. travellers.

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