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Delta Airlines announces return to South Africa with nonstop flights to Johannesburg

Delta Airlines has announced its return in the South African market with nonstop flights to Johannesburg beginning in August. However, the airline has axed its plans to operate Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta triangle route.

Nonstop to Johannesburg

Starting 1st August 2021, Delta Airlines will operate thrice-weekly nonstop flights between Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The schedule is as follows:

  • Atlanta-Johannesburg
  • Departure time: 19:00
  • Arrival time: 16:30 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 15 hours and 30 minutes
  • Flight number: DL200
  • Frequency: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
  • Johannesburg-Atlanta
  • Departure time: 22:55
  • Arrival time: 09:15 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 16 hours and 20 minutes
  • Flight number: DL201
  • Frequency: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays

Johannesburg flights will operate using the Airbus A350-900, marking the debut of one of Delta’s newest aircraft in its fleet between the United States and South Africa. The airline will deploy a 4-class Airbus A350 on this route, featuring 32 ‘Delta One Suites’ (business class), 48 premium economy seats, 36 extra legroom seats and 190 standard economy class seats.

Joe Esposito, Senior Vice President – Network Planning, Delta Airlines, said:

Delta has proudly served South Africa for more than 15 years, and we’re thrilled to return to a market so highly sought after by tourists. Two-thirds of Americans report making summer travel plans, and with demand growing rapidly alongside U.S. vaccination rates, we’re bringing back more flights and destinations to deliver on their anticipation to get back out in the world and reclaim the joy of travel.

Onboard, passengers will be able to delight in inflight entertainment and high-capacity overhead bins. For meal service, Delta has decided to offer uniquely crafted menu items that reflect regional flavours. All passengers will receive a choice of entrée alongside an appetizer and dessert in addition to a full bar selection or soft drink. Those seated in economy class can enjoy dishes like beef stew with jollof rice, fried plantains and sautéed spinach, or Malay chicken curry with coconut rice and ginger-infused French green beans. Passengers travelling in Delta One can pre-order their meal choice on flights between the United States and South Africa. This includes meals like Peri Peri chicken or grilled prawns with jasmine rice.

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No Cape Town flights

Delta had previously planned to use the Airbus A350 to fly the route. However, Johannesburg is a hot and high airport, and this limits aircraft performance. Before the pandemic, Delta flew a Boeing 777-200LR between the two cities, which was the initial aircraft that unlocked nonstop flying between the two cities.

However, as Delta bid farewell to its Boeing B777s, the plan was to use Airbus A350s to fly all the ultra-long-haul routes the B777-200LRs flew. However, Delta needed to wait for a higher gross weight, longer range Airbus A350 to serve the routes nonstop.

Delta had planned Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta triangle route with its A350s. But now, the airline has cancelled plans to fly to Cape Town and will now fly nonstop to Johannesburg and back.

The announcement from Delta comes just days after United Airlines inaugurated its nonstop flights between Newark International Airport and Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Africa network restored

Once the Johannesburg service resumes in August, Delta will have restored its entire pre-crisis Africa network. This includes resumption of flights to Accra, Ghana; Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria. Delta is operating nearly 20 weekly flights to Africa.

Meanwhile, Delta recently took delivery of its 50th Airbus A220 aircraft. The airline has also expanded services to France and announced new routes from Boston and New York.

Featured image by Airplane Pictures

What do you think of Delta’s return to South Africa with nonstop flights to Johannesburg? Let me know in the comments section below.

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