United Airlines Plans 6 Routes To Africa This Year

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Summary

  • They are all from United Airlines’ Newark and Washington Dulles hubs.
  • Five African cities will be served.
  • The carrier had no flights to the vast continent between July 2016 and November 2019.

United Airlines is a significant non-stop operator between the US and Africa. While winter is far away and things might change, it tentatively plans six African routes with about a fifth of all non-stop flights. Examining Cirium data shows that only Ethiopian Airlines (26%) and Delta Air Lines (23%) will be larger.

United to Africa

This winter, the Star Alliance member’s African network comprises the following six routes from its Newark and Washington Dulles hubs. This is the case as of March 21 and may change. The most significant development is the start of Marrakech, the first time the ever-popular Morrocan city will have US flights.

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You will see just how recently many routes started or resumed. The pandemic spurred development, presumably due to the growth in the importance of leisure and visiting friends and relatives markets.

Following the end of Houston Intercontinental-Lagos, a route driven by oil and energy demand, in June 2016, United had no African routes until December 2019. How things have changed.

United to Africa

Normally I use daily or weekly flights, but this is at the month level. Source: Cirium. Figure: James Pearson

Route

Flights from the end of October

Aircraft

Comments

Want flights?

Newark-Cape Town

Three weekly

787-9

Began in December 2019 and operated until March 2020, then restarted in December 2021

Get them here

Newark-Johannesburg

Daily

787-9

Began in June 2021

Click here

Newark-Marrakech

Three weekly

767-300ER

Starts on October 24 (see below)

Search here

Washington Dulles-Accra

Three weekly, but rising to daily

787-8

Returned in May 2021, having operated until 2012

Find them here

Washington Dulles-Cape Town

Three weekly

787-9

Began in November 2022

Click here

Washington Dulles-Lagos

Three weekly

787-8

Returned in November 2021, having operated until 2011

You know the drill

UA IAD-CPT

Photo: United

A quick look at Marrakech

While it is not news, it is worth summarizing what is happening with United to Morocco. Flights were announced in early March, becoming United’s fifth destination in Africa with its own metal. Until 2024, Marrakech had never had North American flights. Now, it will welcome United and Air Transat (from Montreal).

United’s three weekly services will begin on October 24 and use the 167-seat Boeing 767-300ER. These are its low-capacity machines with 46 Polaris seats, which seems like an enormous number for the route, which will be a mixture of tourists and diaspora.

United primarily uses the 167-seater on high-premium routes, most frequently between Newark and London Heathrow. Routes also include higher-end leisure markets, including Newark to Nice this summer. It will be fascinating to see how the variant does in Morocco, although there are plenty of luxury tours.

Not surprisingly, booking data shows that NYC was by far Marrakech’s largest unserved North American market last year, while Marrakech was NYC’s third-largest unserved African market, after Lagos and Algiers. As well as this demand, United will target those who travel to Marrakech from other North American cities, which totaled ~75,000+ passengers last year.

Where else would you like United to fly in Africa? Let us know in the comment section.



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