Delta Airlines has returned to South Africa with a non-stop service from its hub in Atlanta to Johannesburg.
The American legacy carrier had initially planned to operate a triangular route with a tag flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town and then onward to Atlanta but South African authorities denied the airline permission to go ahead with this plan
Delta is deploying its flagship Airbus A350-900NEO to serve this route, becoming the second American carrier after United Airlines to reconnect South Africa to the United states.
The return of Delta will be viewed as a positive step towards the recovery of SA’s tourism sector which has suffered greatly due to restrictions and lockdowns imposed both internally and externally due to the corona virus and its mutating variants
“We are proud of our airline’s 15-year history in South Africa and excited that Delta’s restart between Johannesburg and the U.S. is with our flagship aircraft, offering customers an enhanced onboard experience wherever they sit,” said Amy Martin, Delta’s Managing Director – Network Planning.
“As well as offering more onboard comfort combined with the great service customers can expect from Delta, the aircraft is 25% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 777 it replaces, helping reduce carbon emissions on our longest route.”
Passengers travelling to the United states can connect to delta’s extensive network of 150 destinations, however entry to the U.S. from South Africa remains restricted except for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Initially traffic from this service is expected to largely be Visitors to South Africa and those returning to the United States
“We are excited to welcome Delta back to South Africa. North America is a key market for us and we are confident that this Delta non-stop flight will boost South Africa’s efforts to grow business and leisure tourists’ arrivals out of this market,”said Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini.
“South Africa is a country rich in history and vibrant culture and very warm people. South Africans are ready to welcome back visitors from across the world and we are definitely open for business. We look forward to many years of success on this route, as we continue to share the variety of experiences with all travelers.”