GSP psgr
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Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:07 am

If one takes a look at United's current route network, they have most fast growing global destinations covered: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Turkey, and the UAE. The one destination they do not even come within smelling distance of is South Africa. Admittedly, South African flies IAD-JNB (via DKR) and JFK-JNB nonstop, but that hasn't stopped UA from flying EWR-IST, IAD-NRT, or SFO-PEK (as examples), all of which compete with other Star Alliance partners.

With the 787s coming on line in the next few years, what are the odds we see EWR-JNB/CPT on United metal?
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:34 am

I sure hope so! It seems like a big hole in their network. But JHB is a hot and high airport, so would UA use a 747? I can see service to EWR and IAD.
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
LAXintl
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:56 am

Things are not all lovey dovey at the moment in the United / SA relationship, they recently even terminated chunks of their codeshares. SA just last month signed onto codeshare with JetBlue also.

Any United service would greatly benefit from feed and cross selling on the South African end, so to me the relationship would need patching up before UA attempt such a service on its own.

However at the end of the day, unlike you other 3 examples of routes you provided, I don't see South Africa as being neither a must have network piece, nor a key global market that UA's customer base is clamoring for.
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codc10
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:09 am

I think we'll see more UA expansion in the oil-rich regions of Central/West Africa with the 787 before a nonstop JNB flight, but in my view, neither will happen any time soon. I think there are some more dots to connect in the Pacific, South America and Middle East before UA devotes additional resources to Africa.
 
klwright69
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:49 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 3):
I think we'll see more UA expansion in the oil-rich regions of Central/West Africa with the 787 before a nonstop JNB flight, but in my view, neither will happen any time soon. I think there are some more dots to connect in the Pacific, South America and Middle East before UA devotes additional resources to Africa.

I agree with CODC10.

South Africa would be an interesting destination. I do not think we will see it soon. I know Cape Town has struggled and suffered some cuts. EY has cut it, and there have been other cuts.

I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible. There is a reason CO (now UA) had been eyeing LOS on the African continent for a long time before finally launching.

UA has larger fish to fry.
 
2travel2know2
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:36 pm

Which U.S. airline has the 5th freedom rights for Brazil-South Africa routes?. Is it SA)">UA?
SA)">UA U.S. Brazil flights may be performing quite good now but if a JNB and/or CPT tag-on could be flown with no loss for the airline and with the same aircraft that spends the whole day on GRU or GIG tarmac, then SA)">UA should think about it,

Now if SA)">UA really wants to upset SA, SA)">UA flying IAH/EWR-GRU-HLA and getting feed from Kulula on the South African ed, that would make it.
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VC10er
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:39 pm

I think, although I'm no expert here, that I would envision UA would expand to more places that their current fleet can easily reach. I would see another Brazil flight like EWR to GIG non-stop or deeper into Eastern Europe, Africa & Middle East.
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Viscount724
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:59 pm

Quoting klwright69 (Reply 4):
I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.

The weak South African Rand also makes overseas travel expensive for South Africans unless fares are low, which depresses yields. Look at current fares in both directions. On a route like JFK-JNB, many carriers' lowest fares (for example the Gulf carries EK/EY/QR) are roughly twice as high originating JFK as for travel on the same dates originating JNB (converted to USD).
 
GSP psgr
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:58 am

I was also thinking of a slightly off the wall idea: you can actually do EWR-JNB on a 752 stopping off at somewhere like Dakar pretty easily. If UA wanted to serve South Africa with the smallest metal possible, this would be an option.
 
codc10
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:09 am

Quoting GSP psgr (Reply 8):
I was also thinking of a slightly off the wall idea: you can actually do EWR-JNB on a 752 stopping off at somewhere like Dakar pretty easily. If UA wanted to serve South Africa with the smallest metal possible, this would be an option.

In theory, an option, but one that has virtually zero chance of becoming a reality!  
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 9):

Could the 757 reach LOS from EWR? Which would also seem like a good choice since they have IAH-LOS.
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
boeing773er
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:24 am

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 10):

Not even close, the route is pretty close to 5300 NM miles according to the Great Circle Mapper.
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luckyone
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:44 am

Quoting klwright69 (Reply 4):
I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.

That tends to happen when you combine profound brain drain with the pressures and strain of an HIV prevalence of around 15%. It's unfortunate.

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 1):
I sure hope so! It seems like a big hole in their network. But JHB is a hot and high airport, so would UA use a 747? I can see service to EWR and IAD.

A 747 would be overkill for that route. The European carriers use their 744s and A380's because they can tap the already larger European plus North American demand. Nonstops to North America have no such luxury. Delta seems to be managing just fine with the 777, so, other than capacity dilution, there's no reason United couldn't with their twinjets.

[Edited 2012-07-02 18:46:07]
 
redtailsforever
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:12 am

Quoting GSP psgr (Reply 8):

I wonder if they would do the "elite P.S. service throughout the cabin. I suppose casm wouldn't be great, unless they charge $$$.
 
thegreatRDU
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:38 am

Quoting luckyone (Reply 12):
I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.

That tends to happen when you combine profound brain drain with the pressures and strain of an HIV prevalence of around 15%. It's unfortunate.

Its still the largest economy in Africa so...
As for the brain drain young students from all over Africa flock to South Africa for secondary/higher education.....
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klwright69
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:46 am

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 14):
Quoting luckyone (Reply 12):
I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.

That tends to happen when you combine profound brain drain with the pressures and strain of an HIV prevalence of around 15%. It's unfortunate.

Its still the largest economy in Africa so...
As for the brain drain young students from all over Africa flock to South Africa for secondary/higher education.....

But is there room for another US carrier to serve South Africa profitably? It does not appear so.

Even though it's the largest economy, But LOS is the most populous city in Africa.
 
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RWA380
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:52 am

Quoting redtailsforever (Reply 13):

I wonder if they would do the "elite P.S. service throughout the cabin. I suppose casm wouldn't be great, unless they charge $$$

I very much doubt anyone would pay a premium to sit on a 757 for 20 hours trying to get to S. Africa, with a middle of the night stop in a less than desirable location. The 757 is great for short TATL, Hawaii or Trans Cons, but not halfway around the world, unless your flying with Mark Cuban or Donald Trump on their 757's.  
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blooBirdie
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:38 am

Quoting klwright69 (Reply 4):
I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.

It's doing far, far better than the collapsing economies of the "West" which are being forced to print money to keep their heads (just) above water.

The local currency is also a lot stronger against the USD and GBP than it was 10 years ago.

Perhaps any drop-off in air traffic is more a consequence of shrinking opportunities elsewhere? SA is doing pretty well on routes to South America, Africa and Asia.
 
FlyHossD
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:38 pm

No. But I have it on good word that UA was considering IAH-JNB until WN decided to start flights to Mexico from HOU.

 
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luckyone
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:20 pm

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 14):
Its still the largest economy in Africa so...

...that is totally relative. And mostly unrelated to my point.  
Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 14):
As for the brain drain young students from all over Africa flock to South Africa for secondary/higher education.....

That doesn't mean they stay there. South Africa still has a net loss of skilled workers over the last twenty years to the tune of over 1,000,000 people. For every one of those losses an estimated ten loses their job. It's very difficult to make up for that in just one generation by opening your doors to foreign workers who may not stay.
 
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:02 pm

Quoting GSP psgr (Reply 8):
Quoting GSP psgr (Reply 8):
I was also thinking of a slightly off the wall idea: you can actually do EWR-JNB on a 752 stopping off at somewhere like Dakar pretty easily. If UA wanted to serve South Africa with the smallest metal possible, this would be an option.

This is a GREAT idea for the surplus 757 uses from Newark and Washington to LHR. NO US airline should fly a 757 to LHR.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:13 pm

Quoting GSP psgr (Reply 8):
I was also thinking of a slightly off the wall idea: you can actually do EWR-JNB on a 752 stopping off at somewhere like Dakar pretty easily.

Not that easily. DKR-JNB is over 200 miles further than any current transatlantic 757 nonstop route, and none of those routes involve airports 5,548 ft. above sea level like JNB. I highly doubt JNB-DKR nonstop on a 757 would be possible without a major payload penalty.
 
sweair
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:19 pm

The NSA has to cover a route like that imo, long and thin super efficient.
 
vincewy
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:41 pm

How about EWR-SSA/REC-JNB using 767 or 757 as a test drive? I would think Brazilian and South African governments will be more willing to grant 5th freedom traffic right. TAAG Angola has charters to SSA and REC, so there's market for it, but I'm sure the yields will be questionable.
 
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:41 am

Quoting vincewy (Reply 23):
How about EWR-SSA/REC-JNB using 767 or 757 as a test drive? I would think Brazilian and South African governments will be more willing to grant 5th freedom traffic right. TAAG Angola has charters to SSA and REC, so there's market for it, but I'm sure the yields will be questionable.

I know that SAA used to operate it's N American services via GIG back in the very late sixties to somewhere in the 90's.
I know SAA enjoyed 5th freedom on both sectors, I'm not sure an American carrier would undertake such a route. And JNB to SSA or REC wouldn't be able to be operated by a 757 w/o severe penalties. I don't think S. America is a bad option from the west coast to S Africa, but from the east coast non-stops reign supreme. I always thought it would be neat to see an SAA flight going LAX/SFO-GIG-JNB, but I don't think it'll happen anytime soon.
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2travel2know2
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:31 pm

Quoting vincewy (Reply 23):
How about EWR-SSA/REC-JNB using 767 or 757 as a test drive?

It'd have to be flown with B767.
Neither SSA nor REC has non-stop flights to NYC. O/D market may not be comparable to RIO/SAO but may add something to a hypothetical UA EWR-SSA/REC-JNB.
JNB-SSA/REC O/D is another thing, while I can imagine some leisure traffic between SSA/REC and JNB, that wouldn't match whatever possible SSA/REC-EWR out there.
UA (again hypothetically) would have to choose very carefully where to route a EWR-JNB between SSA and REC to maximize those flights yields and revenues. The ideal scenario would be to 4 days fly via SSA and 3 via REC, but this would present some crew-change problems that are avoided if the flight operate the same stop daily, as it's most likely the same crew wouldn't be OK to fly all the way between EWR and JNB.
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tommy767
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 10):

Doubt it. Although I wonder if UA has considered EWR-DKR with the 757?
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toxtethogrady
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:01 pm

Twenty five years ago, South African served Houston, and the same fundamentals that supported the route then would support it now.
 
steex
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:14 pm

Quoting vincewy (Reply 23):
How about EWR-SSA/REC-JNB using 767 or 757 as a test drive? I would think Brazilian and South African governments will be more willing to grant 5th freedom traffic right. TAAG Angola has charters to SSA and REC, so there's market for it, but I'm sure the yields will be questionable.

TAAG operates those charter because there are significant cultural and economic ties between Angola and Brazil specifically, not because there is otherwise untapped demand for service between southern Africa and northeast Brazil. I don't think the JNB-SSA/REC sector would have any chance of profitability, and the EWR-SSA/REC would face very serious challenges in a relatively small, MIA-centric market.
 
avek00
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:53 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 20):
NO US airline should fly a 757 to LHR.

Why do you say this? It works just fine for what United needs -- the ability to offer premium seats at a multitude of departure times without risking excess capacity (and excessive fare cuts) during lighter travel periods. UA's capacity discipline is to be commended, if anything.
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klwright69
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:26 pm

Quoting blooBirdie (Reply 17):
Quoting klwright69 (Reply 4):I have friends from South Africa, and the economy there is really terrible.
It's doing far, far better than the collapsing economies of the "West" which are being forced to print money to keep their heads (just) above water.

The unemployment rate in South Africa is over 24 percent. So I think the local economy is an issue.

Quoting avek00 (Reply 29):
Quoting jfk777 (Reply 20):NO US airline should fly a 757 to LHR.
Why do you say this? It works just fine for what United needs -- the ability to offer premium seats at a multitude of departure times without risking excess capacity (and excessive fare cuts) during lighter travel periods. UA's capacity discipline is to be commended, if anything.

Of course, the 757 works fine to LHR and other North Atlantic markets including LHR. I think the a 757 to South Africa is beyond the capabilities of the aircraft no matter the routing.
 
mats
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:04 pm

During the mid 90s, United announced plans to serve Johannesburg via São Paulo. At the same time, they also announced their intent to serve Moscow (it would have been Sheremetyevo at that time.) Moscow came to fruition, Johannesburg did not.

This was during a time of great international expansion for United, when they operated European hubs at London/Heathrow, Paris/Roissy Charles de Gaulle, and they had a hub in Miami. They also served São Paulo from Chicago, Miami, and New York/JFK.

Despite the wide-ranging service to São Paulo/Guarulhos and many connecting opportunities, they must have realized that it just wasn't economically viable.
 
2travel2know2
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:06 pm

Quoting Mats (Reply 31):
Despite the wide-ranging service to São Paulo/Guarulhos and many connecting opportunities, they must have realized that it just wasn't economically viable.

In the early 90's UA wasn't really prepared to take over Pan Am Latinamerican operations, because poor scheduling, adding flights out of MIA -which at that time wasn't even a UA focus city - didn't work for many of the former Pan Am destinations.
They got hurt a lot because MIA operations were built so fast, that any knowledge of what kind of market could be developed between GRU (had no slot problems then) and JNB was of no big importance. Then UA just gave up the only routes they could have potentially made work out of MIA and JFK.. including GRU which may have had a JNB tag-on.
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tommy767
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RE: Will United Serve South Africa In The Near Future?

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:19 pm

Quoting 2travel2know2 (Reply 32):
hen UA just gave up the only routes they could have potentially made work out of MIA and JFK.. including GRU which may have had a JNB tag-on.

UA had a pretty good operation at MIA up until BK in 2003-2004. They gave up their turf pretty quickly, but they definitely did try for a long time.
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