LONDON – In a statement issued today, the premier of Queensland Australia, the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the news that United Airlines will fly from San Francisco to Brisbane Airport three times a week from October.
As part of the north-eastern Australian state government’s AU$200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, in collusion with Brisbane Airport Corporation, the deal was brokered with United Airlines (UAL) to service the new route with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The three-weekly flight scheduling will deliver an extra 40,000 international seat capacity into the state capital of Brisbane each year.
Premier Palaszczuk stated that the deal represented an AU$73 million injection into the economy, and would support 385 local jobs, saying:
“We’re aggressively pursuing new direct flights to our key tourism destinations to drive visitation and support local jobs. That’s what our Attracting Aviation Investment Fund is designed to do.”
Previous resumption of Melbourne & Sydney services
In May this year, United Airlines announced the resumption of its nonstop service from San Francisco to Melbourne.
United is the only US airline operating nonstop flights into Melbourne, and this service complements the airline’s existing service between Sydney and its hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Since the reopening of Australian borders to international travellers in February, there has been significant growth in demand for travel from the USA.
A first for Queensland
The newly brokered nonstop service from San Francisco to Brisbane bears significance, as it is the first time that the state of Queensland has been serviced by a United Airlines flight.
Given the significant distance between capital cities on the Australian east coast, this is a windfall for the state of Queensland. Sydney – the nearest capital city served by a United Airlines flight – is 910 kilometres, or 565 miles, from the Queensland capital of Brisbane.
The tourism value of the new nonstop service into Queensland is significant, and the state Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe unscored this, saying: “United Airlines is the bright light at the end of the runway for Queensland’s Covid-19 recovery.”
“Securing the world’s second largest airline with direct flights to and from Brisbane is welcome news for jobs and the economy, and for Queenslanders connecting to the world.”
“Queensland exporters will also welcome the significant additional cargo capacity that comes with increasing the number of international flights to our state,” he further stated.
A first for a US airline
Not only is the new United service a first for the state of Queensland, the Brisbane route also represents a first for a US airline in the post-pandemic era.
United Airlines senior vice president of international network and alliances, Patrick Quayle said:
“With this new service, United will be the first U.S. airline to add a new transpacific destination to its global network since the start of the pandemic.”
“From Brisbane, United customers will be able to easily connect to nearly 20 other cities within Australia thanks to the airline’s new codeshare partnership with Virgin Australia.”
A landmark for Queensland and the Pacific region, and a landmark for US carrier United Airlines.
United Airlines was the only US operator to maintain services between the USA and Australia throughout the pandemic.
Their Brisbane service will commence thrice weekly from October and continue year-round.