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TThe new route is United’s first ever service from South Africa United is the only airline to fly nonstop between Cape Town, South Africa and the U.S. CAPE TOWN, December 16, 2019 –

United Airlines inaugurated its nonstop three-times weekly service between Cape Town and New York/Newark, its first ever South African route and the first direct air service between the two cities.

The first inbound flight from New York/Newark was welcomed to Cape Town International Airport with a special salute, whilst customers, guests, United executives, staff and crew were joined by local government officials and the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa for a special ribbon cutting ceremony before the departure of the first northbound return flight.

United’s new route will enable new and expanded economic opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic. As a metropolitan centre, New York is the largest regional economy in the U.S. and a global hub for banking, finance and communications. It is also a major manufacturing and thriving technology sector. Cape Town and the Western Cape are home to more than 6.8 million people and have some of the most innovative global technology, finance and media industries, making it an ideal partner. It is also Southern Africa’s prime agri-industry and viticulture centre.

“We are excited to inaugurate our non-stop seasonal service between Cape Town and our New York/Newark hub,” said Bob Schumacher, United Regional Director Sales. “Our new flight will not only improve the current journey time between the two cities by more than four hours, it also strengthens our international route network and provides customers in South Africa with over 80 nonstop connections from New York/Newark to other destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.”

“The new United Airlines flight between Newark and Cape Town is a wonderful sign of the United States and its business community’s continuing engagement with Cape Town, South Africa, and the continent,” said U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks. “There are deep, longstanding ties of affection that bind the people of the United States and South Africa together, and this flight symbolises bringing our two countries even closer together.”

“Cape Town is a world-class city and this direct flight positions us as an attractive entry point into the rest of the continent. The local tourism and business sectors will greatly benefit from this as it allows us to showcase the diverse services and experiences that the city offers visitors from the United States. On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I thank United Airlines for implementing this new route and the work done by our Air Access team aimed at boosting tourism and investment opportunities,” said Cape Town Executive Mayor, Dan Plato.

Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said: “The new United Airlines service will open up the U.S. and North American markets to opportunities in the Western Cape and significantly contribute towards growing our tourism sector and stimulating economic growth in the Western Cape. What Cape Town Air Access has shown is that expanding air connectivity, can expand opportunity for people, and expanding opportunity for people, can give hope to people, especially young people, who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, in the Western Cape. We welcome United Airlines to Cape Town and the Western Cape, and we look forward to working together on the vision of ‘Connecting People, Uniting the World’.”

“For Airports Company South Africa, the direct air link between Cape Town and New York/Newark is a significant milestone in its continuing drive to increase South Africa’s air connectivity. Cape Town International Airport has experienced a positive growth trajectory and this is directly attributed through the focused collaboration with stakeholders in provincial and municipal government, tourism bodies and business groups. We have enjoyed considerable success with these air access initiatives in recent years. However, securing the commitment by United is especially pleasing not only because of the distances involved but also because of the incredible potential for tourist and business visitors from the United States,” said Airports Company South Africa Acting CEO, Fundi Sithebe.

“The launch of the United Airlines New York to Cape Town direct flight is a very exciting development, enhancing South Africa’s goal to continue to grow our arrivals out of North America”, commented Sthembiso Dlamini, South Africa Tourism Acting CEO.“Cape Town is an iconic city and consistently ranks high in various global studies as a highly sought-after destination. It is South Africa’s pride city. This route also benefits travellers by significantly cutting their journey by around eight hours on their return trip. In addition, travellers can expand their itinerary via airline codeshare agreements, allowing them to visit the many attractions in other parts of South Africa and experience our unique cosmopolitan cities, wildlife, incredible scenery, welcoming people, delicious food and wine.”


Onboard Products and Services

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft operating the new Cape Town-New York/Newark service seats 252 passengers: 48 in United Polaris business class, 88 in Economy Plus and 116 in United Economy.

United Polaris business class, the airline’s new business cabin, features a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travellers. Polaris is now available onboard, featuring an elevated inflight food and beverage experience, custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue and exclusive amenity kits with products from Sunday Riley.

United Economy Plus offers added legroom and increased personal space. Located near the front of the Economy cabin, the seats give the added benefit of a swifter exit from the plane on arrival. Economy Plus seating is available on all trans-Atlantic flights.

United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment. On most aircraft, seats feature an adjustable headrest and a personal on-demand entertainment system.


United in New York/Newark

United, together with United Express, operates over 400 daily flights from its New York/Newark hub to more than 160 destinations throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. United is upgrading the customer experience in New York/Newark at every point of the customer’s journey with world-class retail shops and leading-edge technology. Along with improving check-in facilities and baggage screening systems, United unveiled a United Polaris lounge for international business class customers in 2018.

Located just 14 miles from Manhattan, Newark Liberty International Airport offers the fastest surface transfer journeys to many parts of the city, including the AirTrain service to New York Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, with a journey time of less than 30 minutes.


Every customer. Every flight. Every day.

In 2019, United is focusing more than ever on its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers' best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to today's news, United recently announced that MileagePlus miles will now never expire, giving members a lifetime to use miles on flights and experiences. Customers now have more free on board snack options as well, with a choice of Lotus Biscoff cookies, pretzels and the Stroopwafel. The airline also recently released a re-imagined version of the most downloaded app in the airline industry, introduced ConnectionSaver – a tool dedicated to improving the experience for customers connecting from one United flight to the next – and launched PlusPoints, a new upgrade benefit for MileagePlus premier members.


About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." We are more focused than ever on our commitment to customers through a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience: Every customer. Every flight. Every day. Together, United and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 356 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 158 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 783 mainline aircraft and the airline's United Express partners operate 561 regional aircraft. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. For more information, visit, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".


Kevin Johnston / Gudrun Gorner

Press Office

United Airlines

Tel +44 (0)20 8276 6305

Tel: +27 82 568 8031


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