United Airlines Boeing 767-300 aircraft (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
- United Airlines really wants to fly from Washington DC to Cape Town.
- And it takes direct aim at competing US airline Delta Air Lines, which was recently awarded flights to the Mother City as part of a triangular route with Atlanta and Johannesburg.
- Delta also wants nonstop flights to Cape Town, but United argues that this should be considered by the US Department of Transportation as its “lowest priority”.
- A supplement to its original application was filed with the department on Wednesday, revealing the tough fight over non-stop flights to Cape Town.
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Chicago-based United Airlines wants to start nonstop flights between Washington DC and Cape Town, resulting in a war of words with its main competitor, backed by political powers.
US airlines are fighting for Cape Town flights. This battle comes amid a severely disrupted period in air travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which effectively brought lucrative European tourists to a halt in 2021. During that time, Americans became the largest tourist group in the world. South Africa, with more travelers arriving from the US than from abroad. UK and Germany.
Traveling to Cape Town, based on the recent spate of international flight requests, is the crown jewel that US airlines are looking for.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines recently received the rights to fly to Cape Town as part of a triangular route with Johannesburg. The green light came after years of delays and botched bilateral compromises, for which the US blamed solely on South Africa’s transportation department.
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Another Delta application, submitted to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for review along with its now-approved triangular route, calls for nonstop flights from Atlanta to Cape Town.
United Airlines, which already operates flights from New York to Cape Town, wants to start flying from Washington DC. United’s request, first filed with DOT in March before Delta’s approval, has now escalated.
A supplement to his original application was filed on Wednesday. The 177-page supporting document with the DOT details how nonstop flights from Washington DC to Cape Town would benefit both countries and why Delta Air Lines’ request should be the “lowest priority.”
With both airlines fighting for the last remaining flight frequencies allowed as part of the Air Transport Agreement between the United States and South Africa, United argues in its application that it is more committed to serving passengers between the two countries and that Delta has maintained a position dominant for too long. long.
United added that despite receiving approval for the triangular route, Delta’s “plans for service in South Africa remain unclear.”
“United has clearly demonstrated its commitment to providing the public with and maintaining consistent, nonstop service to South Africa that maximizes the use of the limited frequencies available,” the airline said of its consistent schedule between Newark/New York and Johannesburg. , along with plans to make Cape Town a year-round destination.
“With United’s high utilization of each assigned frequency, the public has received the greatest possible benefit. In contrast, Delta has not shown a similar level of commitment or service. Instead, it has consistently underutilized its assigned frequencies and sought ever-changing plans for its US-South Africa service.”
United’s proposal to fly nonstop from Washington DC to Cape Town has drawn support from senators from Virginia, Transportation Secretary Shep Miller, former ambassadors to South Africa and a host of other pilot and trade associations, along with more than 5,000 airline employees.
“From creating new jobs to supporting key civic and relief organizations, United takes tremendous pride in growing our family and operations in South Africa and across the African continent,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of alliances. and United international networks. next to the most recent presentation.
“If awarded by DOT, this historic nonstop service will significantly improve travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries’ legislative and diplomatic epicenters, and benefit the thriving travel and tourism industries that serve our respective countries.” countries”.