United Airlines Resumes Flights to South Africa

United Airlines has resumed nonstop service between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Cape Town (CPT). The resumed flight, which will operate three times a week, complements United’s existing five times weekly service to Johannesburg.

Flights will depart Newark at 8:30 p.m. ET arriving in Cape Town at 6:00 p.m. local time the next day. The return flight leaves Cape Town at 8:50 p.m. and arrives in Newark at 5:50 p.m. ET the next day. The airline has deployed a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 257 seats—48 flat-bed seats in United Polaris business class, 21 Premium Plus and 188 in Economy, including 39 Economy Plus seats.

South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) have taken note of the latest reports on the new COVID-19 variant (Omicron), discovered by South African scientists, and the subsequent placing of South Africa on the red lists of various countries, thereby banning travel from South Africa to these countries.

“The latest travel bans on South Africa are extremely disappointing and premature considering the limited information we have about this new variant. Whilst we cannot control the international market, we can control how we handle the crisis domestically, and will support the government to amplify vaccination opportunities and protect lives and livelihoods that depend on the tourism industry. Further restrictions will exacerbate an already devastated and ailing tourism industry and will negatively affect various other industries in South Africa,” said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA, in a press release.

“We would like to emphasize that our country remains open for all those travelers who wish to visit. We also encourage all South Africans to continue with their plans to go out there to explore and enjoy traveling within South Africa, while observing guidelines laid out by the national command center from time to time. The resilience of domestic tourism is key to the recovery of South Africa’s tourism sector and to the economy as this helps avoid any further job losses,” added Sthembiso Dlamini, acting CEO, South African Tourism.

South Africa has been open for tourism since November 2020 with stringent health and safety protocols including a mask mandate. Travelers are required to provide a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival.

For more information, visit www.southafrica.net.

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