Travel update: Second US airli

Delta Airlines resumes direct SA flights. Image: Pixabay

Travel update: Second US airline set to fly South African route

After a lengthy absence of air connectivity with the US, South Africa will soon have two airlines operating direct flights between the two countries.

Travel update: Second US airli

Delta Airlines resumes direct SA flights. Image: Pixabay

United Airlines launched direct flights to South Africa on 3 June. The airline provides a vital link to the United States, where large numbers of South African migrants are now based. No stranger to South African shores, Delta Airlines will be making a comeback in August.


Delta Airlines is set to return to South Africa on 1 August after an absence of more than a year. The airline has operated flights to South Africa for over 15 years but was forced to suspend flights to the country when the national lockdown was implemented in March last year.

“Delta has proudly served South Africa for more than 15 years, and we’re thrilled to return to a market so highly sought-after by tourists,” said Delta’s VP for network planning Joe Esposito.


The airline will offer three flights a week to South Africa.  Delta will operate nonstop flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg with one of its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The non-stop service between Atlanta and Johannesburg will be the longest non-stop flight in Delta Airlines’ route network. 


In May 2020, Delta announced plans to operate flights on a triangular route from Atlanta to Johannesburg with a tag-on flight to Cape Town before heading back to Atlanta. The airline had hoped it would start flying the route in October last year but was unable to due to travel restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The launch of SA flights this August will see Delta Airlines operating direct flights to Johannesburg only, without the tag-on flight to Cape Town before flying back to Atlanta.


On 9 June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US moved South Africa from risk Level 4 to Level 3, which means US residents may travel to South Africa for tourism purposes and are not subject to quarantine when returning to the US.

According to Tourism Update, there is growing desire among Americans to travel again. Delta Airlines reports that South Africa is a preferred destination for Americans.

“Two-thirds of Americans report making summer travel plans and, with demand growing rapidly alongside US vaccination rates, we’re bringing back more flights and destinations to deliver on their anticipation to get back out in the world and reclaim the joy of travel,” Esposito said.


South Africans are still unable to enter the United States on tourism visas, although certain other visas types are being granted for other visitor categories.