US-based United Airways’ determination to launch its first-ever continuous day by day service between Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Worldwide Airport and New York’s Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport in March subsequent 12 months has been welcomed by the Airports Firm South Africa (Acsa).
The transfer, introduced by United Airways on Wednesday, comes as the worldwide airline trade is grappling with its worst disaster in historical past within the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated worldwide journey bans and restrictions this 12 months.
“United Airways’ announcement reveals an excessive amount of dedication to SA and the African continent, which is ready to be the subsequent progress level for aviation,” Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, Acsa’s GM of OR Tambo instructed Moneyweb.
“The choice to service the Johannesburg route is tremendously encouraging.”
An aerial view of OR Tambo Worldwide Airport, Africa’s busiest air hub dealing with round 21 million passengers yearly. Picture: Provided“It presents huge alternatives for strengthened hyperlinks between southern Africa and america as the most important economic system on the earth. The transfer additionally reminds us that regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic, OR Tambo Worldwide Airport, given its world-class infrastructure and placement, is effectively positioned to attach the northern and southern hemispheres,” she added.
Pityi-Vokwana famous that whereas “the highway to restoration will probably be lengthy, there will even be alternatives for progress over the approaching months because the Covid-19 pandemic curve continues to flatten”.
United Airways will function its new Johannesburg route with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
In its assertion, the airline mentioned the brand new continuous service will begin in “Spring 2021” – referring to the Northern Hemisphere season that begins in March. The Chicago-headquartered provider didn’t give a selected date for the graduation of flights.
It famous that the brand new route is topic to authorities approval and mentioned tickets will probably be out there for buy on united.com and the United app within the coming weeks.
The airline mentioned it would grow to be the one US provider to function between Johannesburg and New York/Newark.
Earlier than Covid-19 hit, South African Airways (SAA) and US-based Delta Airways have been working scheduled flights to the US. SAA had two routes – to New York (John F Kennedy Worldwide Airport) and Washington, whereas Delta had a day by day flight to Atlanta.
With SAA entangled in a enterprise rescue course of, there may be uncertainty across the airline resuming all its scheduled worldwide air routes as soon as South Africa’s Covid-19 worldwide journey bans are lifted.
Price noting is that each SAA and United Airways are Star Alliance members. United Airways additionally launched a seasonal 3 times weekly service between Cape City and New York/Newark in December final 12 months.
The launch of its Johannesburg-New York route will see the airline providing extra continuous flights from South Africa than some other US provider.
“This new continuous service will strengthen our worldwide route community and supply our clients from South Africa with even larger journey selection and the likelihood to attach through our New York/Newark hub to locations throughout the Americas,” mentioned Marcel Fuchs, United’s MD of worldwide gross sales.
“Connecting Johannesburg to New York will open up new alternatives for each enterprise and leisure travellers and assist our clients in South Africa reconnect with family and friends all over the world,” he added.
In keeping with United Airways, New York’s Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport is situated simply 14 miles (about 22.5km) from Manhattan.
“[The airport] presents the quickest floor switch journeys to many components of town, together with the AirTrain service to New York Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, with a journey time of lower than 30 minutes,” it mentioned.