Delta Announces Service to South Africa

Hunters from the United States soon may have a choice of airlines to fly directly to southern Africa from the

US. Seems Delta Air Lines has just announced that they will be offering service to Johannesburg, South Africa,

starting in December of 2006. The airline has requested approvals from the US Department of Transportation

to fly from Atlanta, Georgia, to Joburg with an intermediate stop in Dakar, Senegal. If approved, this would

make Delta the only US carrier with direct service to Africa.

Delta plans to offer daily flights to South Africa aboard a Boeing 777, featuring 50 Business Class seats and

218 Economy Class seats. Tariff and scheduling are not available yet. Delta says it will start selling the new

service as soon as it receives government approval.

Adding to the appeal of the new service is the possibility for customers to connect directly from 140 North

American cities serviced by Delta with flights to and from its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Airport. Africa is the latest in a series of more than 50 new international routes added or announced by Delta in

the last year.

Among the hurdles Delta must clear before it can start its service to Africa, however, is Chapter 11

restructuring and a pending strike by the Delta Air Lines pilots. The union, the Air Line Pilots Association, has

threatened to strike on March 1 if they do not reach consensual agreements with Delta regarding a pay cut of

about 19 percent. This is in addition to a $1 billion annual concession the pilots union agreed to in 2004 to help

keep Delta out of bankruptcy. A company spokesman was quoted by USA Today saying they believed a deal

would be accomplished by the March 1 date.