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Delta and United maintain they'll keep their respective less than daily flights to South Africa amid the Omicron variant, but the pandemic taught us decisions like this can be reversed quickly. Travelers should be cautious and prepared.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said on Friday they do not plan any changes to their South Africa-U.S. routes after the White House said it plans to impose new travel curbs on southern Africa starting Monday amid concerns about a new COVID-19 variant.

Delta and United are the only U.S. passenger carriers that have direct flights to southern Africa.

Delta currently operates service between Johannesburg and Atlanta three times weekly and the U.S. airline said “there are no planned adjustments to service at this time.”

The White House said it plans to bar entry to most non-U.S. citizens who have been in South Africa and seven other African countries within the last 14 days.

Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers, said Friday it remains “in communication with the U.S. government as specifics remain unknown at this time and there are many unanswered questions. Amid this rapidly evolving situation, it is critical that U.S. government decisions regarding international travel restrictions and requirements be rooted in science.”

United said it “remains committed to maintaining a safe and vital link for essential supplies and personnel to transit between the African continent and the United States as feasible. We don’t have any adjustments to our schedule at this time.”

United currently operates five flights per week between Newark and Johannesburg and reiterated Friday it plans to restart service between Newark and Cape Town on Dec. 1 as scheduled.

(Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese)

This article was written by David Shepardson from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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Tags: coronavirus, delta air lines, omicron variant, united airlines

Photo credit: Delta and United plan to continue flights between the U.S. and South Africa, and United is slated to add flights to Cape Town at the beginning of December. Bill Abbott / Flickr

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