Leisure and business travellers alike are excited about the new nonstop service between New York / Newark and Cape Town, with tickets now on a sale - less than two weeks after the route's announcement.
US government's formal approval is still pending. The three-times weekly service is expected to begin on Sunday, 15 December 2019. The route will enable South Africans to access connections from more than 80 US cities.
So why United? United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4 900 flights a day to 355 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights, carrying more than 158 million customers.
United will operate its service between New York/Newark and Cape Town with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 48 seats in United Polaris business class, 88 seats in Economy Plus and 116 seats in United Economy.
“Our new service between New York and Cape Town will enable our business and leisure customers to choose a more convenient and seamless way to travel between the United States and South Africa,” says Jake Cefolia, United’s senior vice president of Worldwide Sales in a statement issued by the airline.
“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.”
READ: Kruger Airport and Cape Town Air Access sign agreement to develop route network
United’s service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will decrease the current travel time from New York to Cape Town by more than four hours.
"The United States is one of the Western Cape's key tourism markets and United’s new service will significantly contribute towards growing our tourism sector as we welcome new visitors,” says Western Cape Provincial Minister of Economic Opportunities Beverley Schäfer.
“The Western Cape is a global hub for technology and finance and United Airlines will enable new economic opportunities for Cape Town and New York."
Speaking on the quantifiable benefits of route development at AviaDev last week Schäfer stated, “The AGOA trade agreement for 14 000 duty free products is underutilised at only 2%.”
United Airlines connectivity will increase the use of AGOA states Schafer who also underscored the industry bugbear of blockages due to visa regulation. She deplored the erosion of SA’s position as a family-friendly destination thanks to the onerous birth certificate issue implemented in 2014 – calling on the private sector to lobby government even harder.
IATA has confirmed this week a change in policy to reflect the changed rules for children travelling to South Africa. It is now reflecting this on their systems as well as advising check-in staff to no longer request the unabridged birth certificates.
READ: As new child travel rules take effect, non-compliant 'parents won't be put on the first flight back home'
The changes which came into effect in December 2018, no longer makes the birth certificate requirement compulsory under certain conditions when travelling to SA with minors:
- Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process
- Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. Even though producing supporting documents is no longer compulsory, travellers are strongly advised to carry the supporting documents.
- In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor.
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, who also shared the success of Cape Town's Air Access at AviaDev last week says, “This will provide a vital connection to the biggest unserved market for Cape Town, unlocking immense potential for tourism and trade while boosting business and investment ties between the Western Cape and the US market.”
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