With more people resuming air travel since the COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines is betting on continued growth by announcing nine new nonstop international flights in its transatlantic summer schedule, including three from Newark Liberty Airport.
United’s 2023 summer timetable launches new service to three cities – Malaga, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from its Newark/New York hub. The summer schedule also adds six additional flights to popular European destinations including Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, Berlin and Shannon, Ireland.
“We’re looking at overall industry demand, where it’s following and where it’s heading,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president of United Global Network Planning and Alliance. “What we saw last summer and last September was incredibly strong demand for transatlantic flights. We build on it.
The expanded program continues a relaunch of transatlantic flights founded by the coronavirus pandemic that United began in January and included rolling out nonstop service to underserved destinations in Europe, India and the Middle East.
Quayle cited “historic demand” on non-stop flights to London and Milan which are up 20% from 2019 levels. Tickets are now on sale for flights starting in March or May 2023, according to the destination.
Daily nonstop flights between Newark and Dubai begin March 25, using an agreement last month with Emirates that allows passengers to travel from Dubai on Emirates or Fly Dubai to 100 other cities in the Middle East and India. United is the only US airline offering direct service to Dubai, he said.
Direct flights between New York/Newark and Malaga, Spain will begin on May 31, with three flights per week to the Mediterranean coastal city. This means that next summer United will offer direct flights to three Spanish cities that no other US airline serves, Malaga, Tenerife and Palma de Mallorca, Quayle said.
Flights between New York/Newark and Stockholm in Sweden, which begin May 27, mark a return to Sweden’s “rich and vibrant capital”, Quayle said. United began serving Stockholm in 2005.
The added flights to Newark come as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reports an increase in passenger numbers near pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019.
In August 2022, Port Authority airports handled a total of 12.5 million passengers, or 94% of pre-COVID volumes in August 2019. Passenger volume increased by 3% compared to July 2022 , when the airport served 12.2 million passengers.
United’s summer schedule also adds daily flights between San Francisco and Rome on May 25, new daily flights from Chicago O’Hare to Shannon, Ireland, which complement existing service between Newark and Shannon, and a daily non-stop “from capital to capital”. between Washington DC Dulles Airport and Berlin.
The summer schedule also includes daily direct flights between Chicago and Barcelona, Spain, using a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that builds on existing service between Newark and Barcelona, he said.
Second daily flights between Los Angeles and London Heathrow, starting March 25, and Dulles and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, starting June 2, are also being added.
The expanded summer schedule comes as some flight reductions are made at various European and Mexican airports due to government and airport passenger caps.
“It’s a challenge with airports forcing cuts in air service,” Quayle said. “We hope they can be resolved by next summer.”
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Larry Higgs can be reached at [email protected]ncemedia.com.