The world seems to be shrinking every day as new long-range planes link distant cities nonstop – with the latest route connecting the most southerly point in Africa to New York in one huge hop.

United Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation for authority to begin new service between New York/Newark Liberty International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

United plans to operate nonstop three-times weekly flights to Cape Town starting in December 2019.

The new route will be one of the world’s longer ones, though not as long as the Qantas Perth-London non-stop.

“We are always looking at ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more convenient options. We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Africa to our global route offering,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network.

“This new flight will provide customers with the only nonstop service between the United States and Cape Town.”

New York streetscape

At the moment, travellers flying between North America and Cape Town usually have to stop somewhere on the way, usually either in Europe or Africa.

United says its new nonstop flight, on a B787-9 Dreamliner, will be about 14 hours and 30 minutes, the return about 16 hours. At 7817 miles (12,580 km), it will be the airline’s sixth longest route.

United Dreamliner

United’s nonstop service New York/Newark and Cape Town will cut the current travel time from New York to Cape Town by more than four hours and provide travellers from more than 80 US cities with easy one-stop access to Cape Town, United says.

“If approved, United’s service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 48 seats in United Polaris business class, 88 seats in United Economy Plus and 116 seats in United Economy.”

Cape Town

The proposed service will begin in time for Christmas, from 15 December 2019.

Written by Peter Needham