The first United Airlines flight from Washington to Cape Town welcomes heroes

On the same day as the 60th anniversary of the opening of Washington Dulles International Airport, United Airlines celebrated the launch of a new flight to Cape Town in South Africa. The the route officially positions the airline as the first US airline to provide nonstop roundtrip flights connecting the two cities.

Welcome to Cape Town

November 17 inaugural flight service UA 2222 operated with N24979, two and a half years Boeing 787-9 The Dreamliner has been upgraded to accommodate 257 passengers in a three-cabin configuration. The wide-body plane took off from Washington Dulles Airport at approximately 00:19 before landing at Cape Town International Airport at 13:50.


The first passengers ever to fly nonstop from Washington Dulles Airport, including an airline vice president, stepped onto Cape Town International Airport apron and welcomed by local officials. Members of the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town, the Wesgro Cape Town Air Access team and the talented local band the Cape Minstrels were also there to give passengers a warm welcome.

A member of the Mayor’s Committee for Economic Growth in the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos, said in his welcome speech:

“The arrival of this flight from Washington is a testament to the strength of our destination and the success of the city’s mission to connect to more upstream markets through the Air Access initiative, smart companies and city-to-city agreements. We look forward to a great summer season, and we would like to thank United Airlines for their continued commitment to our destination.”

Then at approximately 7:01 p.m passengers on the return flight UA 2223 were warmly sent off as the aircraft departed Cape Town before returning home to Washington at approximately 10:51 the next day. All calculations are in UTC. Flights resumed on November 19 and will operate three times a week on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays to complement United Airlines’ year-round three-times-weekly service between Newark Liberty International Airport and Cape Town.

Activation of economic ties

The opening of the new United Airlines route also symbolizes the growth of economic ties between the United States and Africa. The US has historically been the third largest Cape Town international market, with volumes of passengers in two directions between st USA and Cape Town, equal to 213,000 passengers in 2019. Based on previous route introductions, it is estimated that this new direct route will increase passenger numbers in Cape Town by at least 25%.

In terms of air traffic, a total of 686 metric tonnes were transported between Cape Town and the US in the first quarter of this year, representing a vital 74% recovery compared to the same period in 2019. In 2021, an estimated 2,384 metric tons of cargo were transported on the same route, representing an approximately 50% recovery from 2019.

The increase in air travel and air travel will certainly play a significant role in the recovery and future growth of the African aviation industryas Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities Mireille Wenger pointed out:

“Tourism is a major contributor to the Western Cape, supporting almost 175,000 jobs and generating approximately R15.5 billion in gross value added to the economy in 2019. We are pleased to welcome direct United Airlines flights from New York. Not only do these flights boost tourism, but they also provide excellent opportunities for exporting goods from the Western Cape via air cargo.”

With the introduction of UA 2222 and UA 2223, an estimated 191 international flights will be coming to Cape Town every week from January next year. The new route will also facilitate business travel, increasing investment and trade opportunities, while airfares between airlines will also be more competitive for the benefit of passengers.

  • United-Airlines-Boeing-777-300(ER)--1

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline type:
    A full-service carrier

    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year of foundation:
    1931 year

    Star Alliance

    General Director:
    Scott Kirby

    United States

  • 787-8 Dreamliner


    Promotion code:

    Date of establishment:

    General Director:
    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters location:
    Chicago, USA

    Main product lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:

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