United Airlines will add four new international routes at San Francisco, double service to one Asian destination, and make two Pacific destinations year-around.
In a highly-anticipated press conference, United CEO Oscar Munoz announced the following new service from SFO to:
- Amsterdam (AMS) [yep, previously announced]
- Melbourne (MEL)
- New Delhi (DEL)
- Toronto (YYZ)
In addition, the carrier will double service to Seoul (ICN) and turn seasonal service to Auckland (AKL) and Tahiti (PPT) into year-around service.
Here’s the new schedule:
We can debate whether this news is “historic” but it does represent a serious international expansion at SFO. Let’s focus on the three new routes announced today. First, the new Toronto flight will be operated by a 737-800, making it marginally less attractive than the widebody 787 aircraft that Air Canada uses on select frequencies on the same route. This is the return of an old route, but it is nice to see it back since upgrades are easier on United than Air Canada. Furthermore, since AC and UA are joint-venture partners, the new route should feed traffic on both sides.
The Delhi flight will compete against Air India, but offer a great new connection to the Indian Subcontinent. This new service will not replace the existing service from Newark. Finally, the new Melbourne service will not come at the expense of LAX-MEL, though it will depart and arrive around the same time. Hopefully United won’t pull a Singapore on us. With United’s latest Melbourne flight, the carrier now will have five flights to Australia (SYD from LAX,SFO,IAH and MEL from LAX,SFO).
Well, one of my predictions was correct. Sort of. Am I bit disappointed? Sure. I’m not sure what makes the new “historic” as opposed to other route announcements. United already serves all of these destinations and the Amsterdam announcement is not even new. But I do not downplay the new routes or that consumers will greatly benefit from more connectivity on United.
What do you think about United’s “historic” expansion from SFO?