|06PRETORIA4978||2006-12-08 12:21:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Pretoria|
VZCZCXRO0182 RR RUEHDU RUEHJO DE RUEHSA #4978 3421221 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 081221Z DEC 06 FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7230 INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 3690 RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 8388 RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 5852
UNCLAS PRETORIA 004978
1. (U) Summary. Delta Airlines launched daily direct service
from Atlanta to Johannesburg South Africa December 5. The
route is heavily booked through January with high passenger
load factors and full cargo utilization. End Summary.
2. (SBU) U.S. carrier Delta Airlines launched a new service
between Atlanta Hartsfield International airport and O.R.
Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on
December 5. The route includes a stop in Dakar Senegal for
refueling, passenger embarkation/disembarkation and a crew
change. Delta is using a Boeing 767 on the route and will
replace the aircraft with a larger Boeing 777 if demand
increases. Delta is also considering the addition of a
direct flight between Atlanta and Cape Town, South Africa.
On December 11 Delta will begin service between New York's
JFK International airport and Accra, Ghana.
3. (U) At a ribbon-cutting ceremony held December 5 South
African Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosala said he was very pleased
with the new route and that SAG "would do whatever is
necessary to make the route a success". Mosala's remarks
were echoed by Delta Sales VP Frank Jahangir and U.S. Consul
General Stephen Coffman who both spoke about the improved
trade and tourism likely to result from the flight.
4. (U) Delta marketing officials noted that fifty five
percent of the existing bookings had been sold in South
Africa to north-bound travelers and that the remaining
forty-five percent had been sold in the U.S. to south-bound
travelers. Of the south-bound travelers, thirty percent had
onward flights to Cape Town, thirty percent to Durban, ten
percent to other capitals in the region (especially
Gabarone), with the remaining 30 percent staying in the
5. (U) Stuffed animal trophies constituted approximately half
of the maiden flight's full cargo hold and the remainder was
divided between cut flowers and textiles. Cargo officials
said they expect heavy utilization year-round. Note: The
December market entry coincides with South Africa's busiest
summer tourist season. Game hunters visit more frequently in
the African winter (June-August) when loss of foliage makes
prey easier to shoot. End Note.
6. (SBU) Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam global
airline alliance which also includes NorthWest and
Continental airlines. Until April of this year, Delta
enjoyed a code share arrangement with South African Airways
(SAA) on routes from Atlanta and New York to Johannesburg.
SAA abandoned the Atlanta route, added a Dulles/Johannesburg
route, entered a code share arrangement with United Airlines
and joined the Star global airline alliance. SAA is planning
to add a Chicago/Johannesburg route early next year.