Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta used the Boeing 777 on the Atlanta-Johannesburg route, one of the world’s longest nonstop flights. But it retired its 777 fleet during the pandemic amid cutbacks, and the A350 has more seats than the 777.
The airline originally applied for federal approval to launch the triangle route in 2020, with the idea of attracting passengers flying from the U.S. to two destinations in South Africa, as well as U.S.-bound travelers from both of those cities. Because of restrictions on foreign airlines transporting domestic passengers, Delta will not pick up passengers flying only between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Atlanta-based Delta said the service would “increase travel and trade opportunities, boost Atlanta and regional economies, create jobs, and provide benefits to travelers across the U.S.,” according to its application for the route authority. However, the airline initially struggled to get approval from South Africa’s government for the stop in Cape Town.
Delta has now gotten approval and has started selling flights on the triangle route.
Separately, Delta also plans to launch daily flights from Atlanta to Sao Paulo, Brazil as a seasonal route operating from Dec. 17 through March 25.