United Airlines is on track to become the biggest airline between the South Pacific and the United States, with roughly 40% additional flights from the United States to Australia and New Zealand planned for the 2023 northern winter season.
This growth, which coincides with the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season, is partly fuelled by United’s ties with two major South Pacific aviation market players: Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. Together, the carriers provide nonstop service to approximately 50 destinations in the region.
With the debut of three weekly Los Angeles-Brisbane flights on 29 November and the transition to daily flights on the San Francisco-Brisbane route on 28 October, United Airlines will become the largest carrier flying between Brisbane and the US.
United also announced the deployment of its biggest aircraft to Melbourne on 28 October, offering roughly 100 more seats daily to each departure through its Boeing 777-300ERs – an increase of 65% over the winter before.
Sydney will also see increased service, with United Airlines beginning twice-daily flights from San Francisco on 28 October, offering more flights to Sydney from the US than any other airline.
Meanwhile, the US carrier is poised to become the only one to operate nonstop flights between the US and New Zealand’s South Island, with the first nonstop San Francisco Christchurch service beginning on 1 December, operated with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
If the United plan becomes a reality, it will be the only nonstop service between the United States and the South Island of New Zealand. This might help the airline attract travellers who want to experience one of the most beautiful parts of the South Pacific.
Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Partnerships, said. “This is a carefully planned and rational move on our part,” adding that the move is made possible by partnerships and the fact that United’s competitors in the South Pacific are still not back to pre-pandemic capacity levels.
According to Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff, the additional services would greatly promote tourism, with the increase in services to the city providing an enormous boost to the area.
United has grown its operations in Australia because of its partnership with Virgin Australia. While the San Francisco-Brisbane route was the first fruit of the partnership, these additional flights indicate both airlines’ commitment to the growth of their joint venture.