Delta Flights From Atlanta To Johannesburg

Delta Flights From Atlanta To Johannesburg

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Delta flights from South Africa forced to stop in places like Boston and Puerto Rico due to ‘payload’ issues

Delta Flights From Atlanta To Johannesburg

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Delta Flights From South Africa Diverting For Fuel While En Route To Us

Downward angle icon An icon in the shape of an angle pointing down. A Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 XWB. viper-zero / Shutterstock.com

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Two Delta Air Lines flights from South Africa to the United States had to make unscheduled fuel stops on their way back to the United States in recent days. The first diversion occurred on November 28, when Delta Flight 201 from Johannesburg, South Africa to Atlanta made a technical stop in Boston to refuel.

Another flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, which departed on December 2, went to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it also refueled before continuing. Delta said the two stops were “pre-planned” and a new flight crew was needed to fly the final leg to Atlanta.

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“The grounding is related to the technical specifications of our A350 aircraft and the payload of this particular flight,” Delta told Boston Insider about the diversion, in a statement. “This can happen on long-haul flights where optimal operating conditions cannot be achieved.”

Many factors can play a role in diversions, including weather and load, especially on long-haul flights like Johannesburg to Atlanta. Delta hasn’t seen a diversion on the route since Sept. 6, the earliest date available to see using FlightAware tracking data, and the route doesn’t restart until Aug. 1.

One possibility is new demand for flights from South Africa, leading to fuller flights. The discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant and the start of travel restrictions imposed by the US government prompted some tourists to leave South Africa for the United States.

“You have some unusual market conditions related to the Omicron variant emergency and changes in travel policy in the United States,” Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and president of Atmospheric Research Group, told Insider.

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Delta declined to comment on how full its flights were on either occasion. But a full flight is just one of many possibilities that could affect an ultra-haul route like Atlanta-Johannesburg.

The route could see increased freight demand, Harteveldt said, and the weather could also play a role as it gets warmer in South Africa and cooler in the United States.

Johannesburg is a “hot and heavy” city for airlines, meaning aircraft operate in high temperatures at high altitude airports, both of which affect aircraft performance. November and December are the middle of spring in South Africa, when temperatures rise and aircraft performance suffers.

And in the Northern Hemisphere, November and December are the beginning of winter and when the wind gets stronger. Ultra long-haul flights such as Johannesburg to Atlanta are already at the top of the Airbus A350-900 XWB’s performance capabilities, and any adverse conditions could affect its range.

Delta Air Lines Introduces Triangular Route For South Africa

Delta Flight 201 on Nov. 29 was able to travel 7,300 nautical miles nonstop in 17 hours and 16 minutes, FlightAware data shows. Delta previously flew a Boeing 777-200 on the Atlanta-Johannesburg route, the longest route in Delta’s network, until the aircraft was retired in October 2020. used to restart. route is in August as Delta is still getting used to using the aircraft on long-haul routes.

“There may be a bit of a learning curve here for Delta if they haven’t used these aircraft before,” Bruce McClellan, aviation analyst at Teal Group, told Insider. “I think they may have been unlucky and had bad weather that caused the plane to go down and refuel.”

Both experts agree that Delta could face reputational problems if it continues with fuel stops on nonstop scheduled flights. Delta’s main competition at the moment is United as the only other airline that flies non-stop between South Africa and the US.

A possible solution is to limit the number of passengers and the amount of cargo carried on the plane more than now. Delta must then assess how much it can cut before the flight becomes unprofitable.

South Africa Blocks Delta Air Lines From Flying To Cape Town

If the A350 cannot reliably operate the route without making stops and without severely limiting its payload, Harteveldt said, then “the airline has a fiduciary responsibility to reassess whether this route should be operated.” Zach Griff is a senior reporter at TPG. . He writes travel and product reviews, dives into loyalty programs, airline news and more.

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It may have taken more than two years, but Delta is finally ready to launch its triangular route in South Africa.

The Atlanta-based airline finalized plans over the weekend to begin service from Atlanta to Johannesburg to Cape Town.

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The route will operate four times a week starting December 2, as seen for the first time in Cirium’s timetable and later confirmed to TPG by airline spokesperson Drake Castaneda.

Delta will use its flagship Airbus A350 on the route, with 32 private Delta One suites, 48 ​​Premium Select reclining seats, 36 Comfort+ extra sleeper seats and 190 standard cabin seats.

Before the outbreak, the airline flew daily non-stop between Atlanta and Johannesburg on a Boeing 777-200.

In the weeks after the pandemic shut down the travel industry, Delta made the decision to retire its 777 fleet in May 2020. The airline has also suspended service to South Africa due to border closures.

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As travel restrictions eased, Delta decided to serve South Africa, but with a new strategy driven primarily by aircraft performance.

The problem is that the A350 doesn’t seem to have the range to cover the Johannesburg to Atlanta leg.

City O.R. Tambo International Airport is located at an altitude of 5,558 feet – more than a kilometer above sea level. This high lift degrades the aircraft’s takeoff performance, meaning the aircraft does not arrive with as much fuel or cargo as at sea level.

It will support short flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, then send the jet back to the Atlanta mega hub from Cape Town’s Coastal International Airport, which is only 151 feet above sea level.

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In addition, the airline will begin serving Cape Town, a popular leisure destination for American tourists. Travelers heading to Johannesburg or Cape Town can enjoy a non-stop service in one direction, with a short refueling stop in the opposite direction. (The airline plans to operate the short flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town as a so-called eighth-freedom route, meaning domestic flights cannot take Delta flights between South Africa’s two largest cities.)

While the plan looks good on paper, Delta gets a big kick out of it when she plans it. Apart from some delays due to the recovery of COVID cases and travel restrictions, the airline has not received permission from the South African government to operate the triangular route.

Earlier this year, Delta finally got the upper hand. However, he did not immediately start the service. Instead, Delta sought permission from the US Department of Transportation to operate nonstop flights from Atlanta to Cape Town without a refueling stop in Johannesburg.

The United States and South Africa do not have an “open skies” agreement, and flight frequencies are controlled by local aviation authorities.

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With the two airlines following the remaining four weekly frequencies under the bilateral air service agreement with South Africa, things were suspended until the DOT returned in July with a surprise: it received additional slots from the South African authorities, will allow Delta and Delta. . United to continue non-stop to Cape Town.

Delta began selling their Cape Town non-stop within days of approval. The flight will start on December 17 with three times a week service. The airline will use Airbus A350s on the route, which will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Now the triangular route will complete the non-stop service. On the four days when the nonstop is not operating, Delta will operate a one-stop triangle service.

Together, the airlines will offer a daily service to Cape Town, with the full schedule at the bottom of the post.

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The airline’s Johannesburg service will also operate daily. On three days

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