United Airlines announced  it has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate three weekly nonstop flights between Washington D.C. and Cape Town, South Africa.

United said on May 18, 2022, that if this route is approved, it will become the first nonstop service between Washington D.C. and South Africa's legislative capital, Cape Town.

The airline said that it proposed to commence the Washington Dulles (IAD) - Cape Town (CPT) service from November 17, 2022 using United’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. 

United hopes that the service will supplement the airline’s existing flights to four cities in three countries in Africa. United currently flies to CP from Newark.  

The route will also allow customers to connect in Cape Town to other points in South Africa, and to other countries in the southern region of the African continent with its South African based partner Airlink.

Washington DC holds the 5th largest South-African born population in the United States. The airline said it is also the second largest point in the US for Cape Town demand. As of 2019, there are roughly 85,000 people born in South Africa who are living in the United States.

"From creating new jobs, to supporting key civic and aid organizations, United has taken tremendous pride in growing our family and operations in South Africa, and across the African continent," United Airlines senior vice president of international network and alliances Patrick Quayle said in a statement.

"If awarded by the DOT, this historic nonstop service will significantly enhance travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries legislative and diplomatic epicenters, and benefit thriving travel and tourism industries serving our respective countries."

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