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United Airlines’ New Nonstop Routes From Newark To Cape Town Is A Game Changer For South African Tourism

By Kelsey Marie

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United Airlines changed the game with its announcement of new nonstop flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Cape Town. The announcement was made in April and was seen as a great opportunity for South Africa’s tourism industry.

Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa and offers iconic sites such as Robben Island Museum, Table Mountain and Boulder’s Beach. 

The new routes will launch on December 15th and many people are eager since they can now avoid long layovers.

Jonathan Guerin, United Airlines spokesperson says, “If you’ve traveled to Cape Town before from the United States, you probably connected somewhere in Europe or even in Johannesburg. Now, with United’s new nonstop service, you will save nearly eight hours of travel time round-trip — that’s practically a full day!”

Prior to this new route, travelers would have to spend about 19 hours just to get from the U.S. to South Africa. 

When this service launches, United will be the only airline with nonstop routes from the U.S. to Cape Town.

Here’s how the new route will affect South African tourism:

Local Attractions Will Generate More Money

The city of Cape Town has taken exceptional care of its local attractions. For example, the annual maintenance on Table Mountain was recently completed in August, consisting of a five-week shutdown and a renovation of the cafe and ticketing areas. Also, Robben Island added a new 270-passenger ferry to its fleet.

The popular V&A Waterfront is one of the most frequented destinations in Africa, drawing in 24 million visitors each year. In July, the waterfront received an upgrade to its swing bridge, which cost a cool $1.37 million USD. 

In the same area is the Zeitz MOCAA, the largest art museum in Africa and the five-star Silo Hotel. 

South Africa has been spending a significant amount of money to maintain these sites and with the new nonstop routes, more visitors will be spending their coins to visit Cape Town. 

To accommodate an expected rise in tourism, there will be more hotels popping up in the city.

Cape Town Tourism Is Rising

The city of Cape Town reported in 2018 that 5.3 million passengers arrived at Cape Town International Airport, growing by 3 percent from the previous year. The new route will increase that percentage even more. 

“We are always looking at ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more convenient options when planning travel,” says Guerin. He reveals the route became a reality after “reviewing opportunities and analyzing customer demand for business and leisure travel between the United States and Cape Town.”

Newark was chosen as the hub since the airport is easily accessible from 80 other U.S. cities en route to Cape Town. 

When discussing the official launch of the new routes, Guerin shares: “We are excited about connecting our customers with a destination like Cape Town. We look forward to offering our customers easier access to South Africa’s growing tourism industry and enabling business opportunities between the United States and the Western Cape’s technology sector.”

The route will be launched with three flights a week. Flights will depart from Newark International Airport on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and land at Cape Town International Airport at 6:00 a.m. the next day. 

Return flights will be on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays departing from Cape Town at 8:50 p.m. and arriving in Newark at 5:45 a.m. the next day. 

The aircraft is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and there will be 48 United Polaris business seats, 88 Economy Plus seats and 116 United Economy seats.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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