United Airlines To Launch Washington-Cape Town On November 17th

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) granted United Airlines three weekly flights from Washington DC to Cape Town, South Africa. If the South African government approves, United will begin service on November 17.

United will become the first airline to fly nonstop between Washington DC and Cape Town

Earlier today, United announced that it had received approval from the US DOT to begin service from Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) to Cape Town (CPT). Pending approval of the South Africa Government, United will fly from IAD-CPT three times weekly and will become the first airline to provide service from the United States capital to South Africa.

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“We are thrilled to further expand our Africa offering with this first-ever direct link between Washington DC and Cape Town. These new flights build upon our existing year-round New York / Newark to Cape Town service – together they’ll provide a near -daily pattern from the US to Cape Town along with connectivity to the broader region through our Airlink partnership. ” – Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances, United Airlines

With the launch of the new flights to Cape Town, United will soon offer 19 weekly flights to Africa. Just last year, the airline launched service from New York / Newark to Johannesburg and Washington DC to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. No other US airline offers as many flights to South Africa.

Passengers flying from Cape Town will be able to connect to 55 US cities on United’s route network, covering 92% of US air traffic. Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying

The new route is highly significant as Washington DC is home to the fifth-largest South African-born population. The new route provides those living in the United States almost daily options between the IAD and EWR flights to CPT. Those flying from Cape Town will be able to connect to 55 cities in the United States on United’s network. Broad connection will also be offered to those flying from Washington DC through United’s South African partner Airlink, which has a hub in Cape Town.

Securing the slots in Cape Town proved to be a challenge as both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines were competing for four remaining slots. In February, Delta announced that it planned to launch thrice weekly flights from Atlanta to Cape Town and United followed suit with its own announcement that it planned to fly to Cape Town three times weekly from Washington DC The US DOT was faced with a tough decision as each airline expressed the desire to have three weekly flights and there were only four slots to be awarded. Due to negotiations with South Africa, the US DOT was able to secure two extra slots so that Delta and United could each have 3x weekly flights, as planned.


UA2222 and UA 2223

United has selected the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to service the new IAD-CPT route. The 787-9 is configured in a three-class configuration, with 48 lie-flat United Polaris business class seats, 21 United Premium Plus seats, and 188 seats in economy. Every seat is equipped with seatback entertainment, allowing customers to relax during the long flight. UA2222 will depart Washington DC (IAD) at 6:40 PM local time and will arrive in Cape Town at 04:10 PM (+1) local time and is blocked at 14h30m. UA2223 will depart Cape Town at 08:50 PM local time and arrive in Washington DC at 05:50 AM (+1) local time, and is blocked at 16 hours.

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