United Airlines has been operating flights to Australia from the US West Coast for more than three decades. Last week, the Star Alliance member airline revealed it would begin a new non-stop service between San Francisco and Melbourne, complementing its existing Los Angeles–Melbourne city pairing.
Commencing 29 October 2019, United will offer a thrice-weekly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service on the SFO/MEL route.
According to United Airlines’ Asia-Pacific Communications Manager, Koji Nagata, the SFO/MEL route follows an “extensive review”. Speaking exclusively with LATTE this week, Nagata said United had witnessed “strong enough demand” from Melbourne to Los Angeles, as well as to other destinations beyond LA, to support the decision to introduce the direct route to the Victorian capital.
“United continues to closely monitor the potential for new routes across our markets and add capacity whenever we see enough demand, so after extensive review, it was determined that this new route was the perfect next step in expanding our Australian operations,” Nagata told LATTE.
“We commenced our operations to Australia in 1986 and celebrate the 32 wonderful years of service we’ve been able to provide between the two continents. In fact, it’s been five years since we started direct flights from Melbourne, so this new launch will coincide with our fifth anniversary of direct operations into the city!”
“This flight marks United’s fifth direct route from Australia to the mainland US, with the other routes providing direct daily non-stop access to United’s West Coast hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as our ultra-long-haul service from Sydney to Houston, which launched earlier this year. All flights are operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
“We are proud to offer our customers the world’s most comprehensive route network and this new flight helps to bolster that offering for Australians.”
Nagata said United sees “wonderful synergies” between the two destinations.
“From their vibrant culture to their bustling sports scenes, we’re confident that both Australians, as well as our US customers, will love the opportunity to discover each city, as well as the destinations beyond.”
Questioned by LATTE if the vision for the San Francisco–Melbourne service was to eventually move to a daily frequency and if non-stop services between Los Angeles and Australia’s other east-coast gateway city, Brisbane, were on the horizon, Nagata commented: “United continues to monitor the market closely and add capacity whenever we see enough demand to support it.”