United Airlines is planning nonstop flights between Newark, New Jersey and Cape Town, South Africa in December.
The new route, approved by the government, will be the industry's first nonstop flight between North America and Cape Town, marking the airline's return to Africa after three years absence.
Travelers traveling to Cape Town from any US carrier must stop in Europe.
United says its new nonstop flight on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner allows hours of travel to and from Cape Town. The flight south is planned for 14 ½ hours, the return flight about 16 hours. With 7,817 miles, it will be the sixth longest route of the airline.
A United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner launches in March 2017 from Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, especially for USA TODAY)
The jetliner accommodates 252 passengers: 48 in the Business Class Polaris, 88 in the Economy Plus class and 116 in the Economy class, United said.
Patrick Quayle, vice president of United's international network, said the airline added Cape Town because it is the largest unkempt destination between North America and Africa.
"We have focused on creating unique opportunities for our passengers," he said.
Newark-Cape Town will be the airline's 22nd new international airline and the sixth new international point on the route map for the past two years. Other New destinations are Naples (Italy) and Prague and Porto (Portugal).
The first plans of United are the seasonal flights to Cape Town with three weekly flights from 15 December to March.
"If all goes well, we will bring it to year-round growth, much like Tahiti," said Quayle.
Tariffs were not announced. The lowest price for a return flight for flights from the metropolis of New York with a stop in mid-December, according to a search on Google Flights about 800 US dollars.
Tickets for United Nonstop flights from Cape Town are offered for sale as soon as the airline receives the required regulatory approvals. That's expected in May, Quayle said.
United last served Africa in 2016 when flights between Houston and Lagos (Nigeria) were canceled due to a weak energy market and poor trackside financial performance. Delta remained the only US airline operating in Africa. Delta serves several destinations in Africa, including Johannesburg, Lagos and Accra, Ghana.
United's proposed flight plan between Newark and Cape Town
Newark Liberty International Airport to Cape Town International AirportDeparture at 20:30, arrival the next day at 18:00 in Cape Town. Local time.
Cape Town to NewarkDeparture at 8:50 am, arrival the next day at 5:45 pm local time.
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