United adds first-ever nonstop flights between DC and Cape Town

United Airlines has received U.S. Department of Transportation approval to operate the first-ever nonstop flights from the D.C. area to Cape Town, South Africa.

United will operate the flights three times a week starting Nov. 17 using 787 aircraft. Booking for the Cape Town flight is now available. Fares for the flight, which departs Dulles at 4:10 p.m., start at $1,132 round trip, according to the United website.

Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, United said the D.C. region has the fifth-largest South African-born population in the U.S.

United started nonstop service to Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria, from Dulles in 2021, and nonstop flights from Newark to Johannesburg that same year.

In 2019, it started Newark to Cape Town flights. The additional Dulles service to Cape Town will mean United will operate a total of 19 weekly flights to Africa, more than any other U.S. airline.

Dulles is one of United’s hub airports, meaning nonstop service to Cape Town will connect 55 U.S. cities to the route, or what United said is more than 90% of U.S. travel demand for Cape Town.

United is the largest carrier operating at Dulles, with more than 230 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations.

The Department of Transportation also approved Delta Air Lines’ application to operate three weekly flights to Cape Town from Atlanta.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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