By this December it hopes to be operating a direct flight between Cape Town International Airport and the Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York, United Airlines announced late on Monday.
The route would be United's first to the African continent – and would mark a return to direct travel between Cape Town and the United States.
The direct flight would take some 16 hours, shaving off at least four hours of travel time on the shortest flight United could find, and at least five hours on available commercial flights according to a Business Insider South Africa search.
At present travel time from Cape Town to New York can be more than 46 hours (for cheap flights with two stops in Europe) though most routes will take a total of between 21 and 25 hours – assuming no missed connections.
The direct route to Cape Town is still subject to some government approvals.
United operates a fleet of 779 aircraft and operates hubs in American cities from San Francisco to Washington DC.
The Cape Town route is initially scheduled to be seasonal, available only during the South African summer between December and March. But the company told USA Today that, as with some of its other routes, it would consider a year-round service if there is sufficient demand.
The flight would depart from Cape Town just before 9PM three times a week, using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that can carry 252 passengers.
In 1999 SAA ended a "lucrative" direct route between Cape Town and Miami as part of an agreement with Delta airlines, "infuriating" Cape Town tourism authorities. SAA later showed that its new route, via Johannesburg, had seen a huge rise in passengers because of more convenient connections.
Also from Business Insider South Africa: