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On Dec.1, South African Tourism (SAT) and United Airlines welcomed back the return of its nonstop service between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Cape Town (CPT). The resumed flight, which will operate three times weekly, complements United Airlines existing five times weekly service to Johannesburg.

The flight will be operated on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring a total of 257 seats—48 flat-bed seats in United Polaris business class, 21 Premium Plus and 188 in Economy, including 39 Economy Plus seats. Flights will depart Newark at 8:30 p.m. ET arriving in Cape Town at 6:00 p.m. local time the next day. Return flight leaves Cape Town at 8:50 p.m. and arrives in Newark at 5:50 a.m. ET the next day.

“We look forward to welcoming back travelers in a safe and responsible way to experience beautiful Cape Town and beyond,” says Jerry Mpufane, president of South African Tourism, North America, in a press statement. “We thank our partners for their continued support of South Africa, re-establishing the link between these two destinations and setting top health protocols to ensure everyone, whether on leisure or business travel, has a wonderful and memorable journey.”

Travel Ban Due to New Covid-19 Variant

In addition to the positive news about United Airlines resuming direct service to Cape Town, South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) have also noted the latest reports on the new Covid-19—Omicron and the subsequent placing of South Africa on various countries’ red lists, effectively banning travel from South Africa to these countries. The announcement of the new variant by South African scientists has had unintended consequences resulting in many countries closing their borders for travelers from the destination.

Please keep in mind, that although South Africa has been open for tourism since November 2020 with health and safety protocols in place including travelers requiring a negative Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, the United States has restricted travel from South Africa as well as seven other southern African countries due to the Omicron variant. These countries include: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

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