South Africa rejects Delta plans in Cape Town – PaxEx.Aero

Delta A350s will now fly Atlanta-Johannesburg and back, skipping a planned stopover in Cape Town

News broke late last week that Delta Air Lines no longer plans to include Cape Town in its service plans to South Africa. It’s easy to understand that market dynamics have changed dramatically since the company initially announced plans to add the additional destination just over a year ago. But that’s not the only reason the carrier decided not to travel to Cape Town. It turns out that the South African government rejected Delta’s request to serve the route.

Delta first applied to SADOT for the Johannesburg-Cape Town co-terminal authority in May 2020. Months of repeated requests from the carrier followed for its authority and other actions to raise public awareness. US government in support of Delta’s claim, which complies with rights under the Agreement, which in fact allows co-terminated services by carriers from the two countries. However, on May 14, 2021, SADOT informed the ministry of its view that the agreement “does not confer national co-terminal rights to designated airlines of the two countries” and that it intends to refuse. Delta’s request.

-DOT Filing rejecting part of SAA request

For its part, Delta’s revised application to the US Department of Transportation describes only “the commercial, operational and market developments allowing Delta to operate a direct Atlanta-Johannesburg-Atlanta round trip route using Airbus A350-900s. of 306 places, ”explaining that the stopover in Cape Town will no longer be included.

Reciprocity at stake

As South Africa rejected Delta’s request, the US DOT rejected a similar request from South African Airways. While the South African airline will be allowed to operate flights to the United States, either non-stop or via Cape Verde and Dakar, it no longer has permission to operate to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, DC “on a co-terminal basis.

This means that there are no additional flights between US cities for the airline, even without carrying local traffic.

These routes have not been operated for a long time, so the loss to SAA is not significant, but the US government felt compelled to reject the option in favor of the defense of Delta and the bilateral treaty between the United States. two countries.

While our preference would be to grant SAA the renewal of all bilateral exemption authorizations it requests, SADOT has taken the position that the co-terminal authorization requested by Delta is not provided for in the agreement. . We strongly disagree with this position, but our attempts to engage with SADOT to reconcile this issue and defend the important US bilateral law at issue have not been successful. Therefore, in the circumstances presented, we have tentatively decided that the public interest requires the rejection of parts of the SAA’s waiver renewal request … In this, we propose to only limit the authority of the SAA. SAA through the unilateral reinterpretation of the Agreement by its own government. .

-DOT Filing rejecting part of SAA request

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