United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz will make a “historic” route announcement today. I have 10 predictions for potential new routes.
According to an insider on airliners.net, United will make a historic route announcement today at 11:00AM CT.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz will host a media conference call to discuss an historic package of new and expanded international routes and talk about how they are a capstone to a breakthrough year for United.
Pay attention to the wording: an historic package of new and expanded international routes. That indicates that United will announce multiple new international routes. The fact that Oscar Munoz himself is making the announcement suggests to me that this will not just be a couple random new longhaul routes.
Another poster on airliners.net just ran into Munoz at baggage claim at LAX, foreshadowing a potential announcement from LAX. I reached out to United immediately for any hints last night but the airline is tight-lipped about today’s announcement.
On that basis, I’m just going to have some fun and speculate 10 possible announcements that Munoz could make today.
- Nonstop service to Guam (GUM) from either Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). This would be historic in that it would link these two hubs for the first time.
- New service to Johannesburg (JNB) from Newark (EWR) or Washington Dulles (IAD) or Houston (IAH). This would be historic, particularly from IAH, in that it would link up six continents to Houston for the first time While the government in South Africa is a mess, Atlanta (ATL) to JNB has been a very profitable route for Delta.
- New service to Cairo (CAI) from EWR. The tourist market remains depressed in Egypt, but this route in closer cooperation with EgyptAir could create a new network for Arab Africa and the Middle East
- New service to Frankfurt (FRA) from LAX. While Lufthansa ably serves Los Angeles, a United return on this route would be an excellent boost for LAX. It would also help justify the new Polaris Lounge at LAX.
- The re-introduction of UA1/UA2 Round The World Service via new service to Delhi (DEL) or Mumbai (BOM) from SFO. United abandoned its RTW service (JFK-LHR-DEL-HKG-LAX-JFK) after 09/11. While I don’t anticipate an identical routing to return, I would not be surprised to see something like SFO-DEL-HKG-SFO.
- New service to Bangkok (BKK) from SFO or LAX. While yields are low, this route presents an opportunity for the Dreamliner and an unprecedented nonstop route for United.
- New service to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) from SFO or LAX. While yields are low, this route presents an opportunity for the Dreamliner and the large Vietnamese-American community in California.
- Return of service to Lagos (LOS) from Houston. As oil prices begin to rebound, a return to Lagos may make sense. In fact, United could conceivably run IAH-LOS-JNB, with Fifth Freedom service between Lagos and Johannesburg. I reviewed the flight in 2014.
- New service to Tel Aviv (TLV) from Chicago. Flying to Israel remains very profitable in terms of both cargo and passenger service. If any Chicago routes are added, my bet is on Tel Aviv.
- A return to JFK. Ok, this one is just dreaming, but I would love announcement today that United is returning to New York JFK.
Speculation is fun, but I will be anxiously waiting for the official news. In the meantime, what do you think of my predictions? What do you think United will announce today?