Passengers on the inaugural United Airlines flight from New York to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, received a warm welcome on Friday 4 June 2021.
The flight left Newark International Airport on Thursday, where the Consul General of South Africa in New York, Dr Motumisi Tawana, spoke at the launch.
In South Africa, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane headed up a delegation to welcome the flight, called this a “milestone for South Africa”.
The airline had three weekly seasonal flights between Cape Town and Newark, which began in 2019 and was cut short just a few months later by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions. The airline will now have direct flights between Johannesburg and Newark/New York.
It’s hoped that the new non-stop service route will boost South Africa’s efforts to grow business and leisure tourists’ arrivals out of North America.
SA Tourism Media spokesperson Matome Dikgale said “the United States of America is one of South Africa’s leading key source markets for international travel” and praised the Minister for “leading from the front to position South Africa as the destination of choice for international travellers.”
SAPeople follower Bert Vercamer said: “I was on the flight! It was practically full (about 15 empty seats only) and went very smoothly. So glad to have a direct flight between NYC and JNB again!” Bert said the flight was listed as 15 hours, but took just over 14 hours.
United Airlines will now fly directly to Johannesburg – making ease of travel a reality for many travellers from the American market.
Minister @mmKubayiNgubane led a delegation to welcome our visitors tonight. #TourismRecovery 🇿🇦🇺🇲 #WeDoTourism pic.twitter.com/LdCQPLB7Sj
— Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota (@Hlengi) June 4, 2021
United Airlines first dipped its toes into unexplored African markets in 2019, with direct flights to Cape Town from New York/Newark. On 3 June 2021, @united introduces direct flights to Johannesburg from Newark International Airport. pic.twitter.com/X7tN2FDBQB
— South African Consulate General, New York (@SACGNY) June 4, 2021