It’s official: Delta files for rights to begin Cape Town flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Air Lines plans to return to South Africa in October with new joint service to Cape Town and Johannesburg, giving the carrier one of the few new-route announcements to come since the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the industry.
The Atlanta-based SkyTeam Alliance carrier aims for flights to begin with an Airbus A350-900 on Oct. 24, Delta said in a regulatory filing Thursday. The service will extend its existing nonstop between Atlanta (ATL) and Johannesburg (JNB) to a triangle that includes a stop in Cape Town (CPT) on the return leg.
Here is Delta’s proposed schedule with all times local:
- Depart Atlanta at 5:45 p.m., arrive Johannesburg at 3:45 p.m. on the next day
- Depart Johannesburg at 5:15 p.m., arrive Cape Town at 7:25 p.m.
- Depart Cape Town at 9:25 p.m., arrive Atlanta at 6:45 a.m. on the next day
Delta does not plan to carry local traffic between Johannesburg and Cape Town, it said. In addition, tickets will not go on sale until it has the relevant approvals from both the South African and U.S. governments.
The new routing, and service to Cape Town, follows Delta’s decision to retire is fleet of Boeing 777s amid coronavirus-related fleet reductions earlier in May. The the 8,439-mile nonstop Atlanta-Johannesburg route was exclusively flown with the jets.
The carrier’s A350s are outfitted with 306 seats. The jets have 32 Delta One business class suites, 48 Premium Select premium economy seats and 226 economy seats.
United Airlines also plans to return to Cape Town this fall, a spokesperson told TPG. The Star Alliance carrier began seasonal nonstop service between the Western Cape and Newark Liberty (EWR) with a Boeing 787 in December.
Delta’s decision to resume South Africa flying indicates it will take delivery of new A350s before October. The 13 jets already in its fleet do not have the capabilities to fly the route, with only newly-delivered A350s from Airbus able to do so, airline president Glen Hauenstein told staff during a May 20 virtual town hall that was viewed by TPG.
The carrier’s existing A350s have a range of 7,275 miles while the baseline A350 today has a range of 9,321 miles thanks to a higher maximum takeoff weight, according to Delta and Airbus.
As recently as April, Delta did not have firm plans to take more new aircraft this year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Whether eventually over the course of the year we wind up taking some fully financed aircraft, it’s an open question right now,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told Wall Street analysts on April 22.
Delta has 26 A350-900s on order. This includes 14 jets and orders that it acquired from LATAM Airlines last year.
If Cape Town flights do begin in October, it will not be the first time Delta served the Western Cape. The airline served the city and Johannesburg from Atlanta and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) via Dakar (DSS) from 2008 to 2009, according to Cirium schedule data.
Learn something new everyday!
— Edward Russell (@e_russell) May 21, 2020
Featured image by Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees