Direct United flights between Cape Town and New York resumed on Thursday 02 December. The route was suspended a few months after its launch in March 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The maiden flight was on 16 December 2019 but for the past 20 months flights had been suspended.  With flights resuming Mayor Geordin Hill Lewis said: “This is a special occasion – a day where we can welcome back United Airlines flights from New York to Cape Town. It was heartwarming to see a plane full of excited American tourists ready to explore and enjoy Cape Town, after a 20-month hiatus in flights. This is why it gives me great pleasure to say that today, we are “United”

This is a glimmer of hope as travel bans start to take their toll, a week after South Africa announced the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, said that while the travel bans are disappointing, the City with its partners would continue to work hard to reverse these restrictions. The aim is to see the return of international airlines and all its travellers who were so keen to visit Cape Town this festive season.

Vos said: “A few weeks ago, we launched a destination marketing campaign in New York and other major cities showing the diversity of experiences and the beauty that Cape Town offers. This route between North America and Cape Town opens travel and trade opportunities that stand to be of significant benefit to our economy.”

Hill-Lewis added: “As the Mayor of this beautiful city, I have said that we will focus all our work on growing the economy and making Cape Town the easiest place to do business in Africa. I look forward to seeing this route flourish and connect more people to each other, and help grow a stronger, resilient relationship between our two cities.”