After failing to set up its Atlanta – Cape Town – Johannesburg – Atlanta flights, Delta is now considering flying Atlanta – Cape Town.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has asked the US Department of Transportation to operate nonstop flights to Cape Town later this year. Delta wants to fly between Atlanta and Cape Town from mid-November to complement its existing Atlanta – Johannesburg flights. Delta also continues to fight for the option of flying Atlanta – Cape Town – Johannesburg – Atlanta.
Delta offers Airbus A350-900 flight to Cape Town
According to the filing, Delta wants to fly its 306-seat Airbus A350-900 nonstop between Atlanta (ATL) and Cape Town (CPT). The airline is considering a start date of November 18, 2022, depending on travel restrictions imposed by either country due to COVID-19.
US authorities already authorize Delta Air Lines to operate scheduled flights between Atlanta and the co-terminal points of Johannesburg and Cape Town. The airline wants this exemption authority changed to allow nonstop Atlanta-Cape Town service.
According to the filing, Delta’s proposed flights between Atlanta and Cape Town will depart from Delta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hub three times a week at 8:45 p.m. and arrive in Cape Town at 6:45 p.m. before returning at 9:00 p.m. to arrive at Atlanta. at 06:25. Delta wants to operate a year-round service with seasonal flexibility to match capacity to demand during off-peak periods.
“Delta has submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Transportation for three times weekly service between Atlanta and Cape Town,” the airline said in a statement. “As always, we seek to build our flight schedules and network around where our customers want to fly. We hope to receive approval to operate Delta non-stop service on this important route. »
Delta continues to fight to fly to Johannesburg via Cape Town
Delta has proposed flying to Cape Town in 2020 using an Atlanta – Johannesburg – Cape Town – Atlanta route. However, the South African Department of Transport rejected the request. Currently, the airline’s only South African destination is Johannesburg, served by Delta from Atlanta.
The airline still wants to operate the Atlanta – Johannesburg – Cape Town – Atlanta route and continues to negotiate with the South African authorities. Delta says this will provide flexibility to their existing Atlanta – Johannesburg-Atlanta flights.
Delta would take United Airlines on flights between the United States and Cape Town. United serves both Johannesburg and Cape Town from its New York Newark hub. Flag carrier South African Airways does not currently operate in the United States.
Delta’s optimal triangular South African routing. Source; gcmap.com
US airlines eyes network growth opportunities in Africa
Delta Air Lines also serves Dakar (DSS), Accra (ACC) and Lagos (LOS) from New York JFK. Lagos is also seeing Delta service direct from Atlanta. While air connections between North America and Africa were traditionally overlooked before the travel downturn, US airlines are now eyeing Africa’s growth potential and placing new emphasis on developing routes to the continent. The unrest that overwhelms South African Airways also de facto excludes a competitor from the field, particularly on the South Africa – United States routes.
Flying direct to Johannesburg presents some challenges for Delta’s A350s. Johannesburg Airport’s high altitude means the aircraft cannot cover the distance to Atlanta with a full payload. Now, flights in the sector fly less loaded than normal and still sometimes have to divert if the winds are against the aircraft. South African authorities allowing the aircraft to operate via Cape Town (and refuel there) would help circumvent this problem.
The start-up Greater Bay Airlines has received a license from the ATLA to operate 104 routes from Hong Kong.
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