United Airlines will resume flights between Los Angeles and Sydney this September after a multi-month hiatus. The flight represents hope that United will not abandon longhaul flights out of LAX.
United Resumes Los Angeles – Sydney Flights
There was real concern that Los Angeles was on the chopping block as an international hub. First, United suspended all longhaul flights from LAX due to COVID-19. Next, United announced that its 787 pilot base would close at LAX…all longhaul international flights at LAX utilize a 787.
With demand severely compromised and San Francisco serving as United’s main west coast international gateway, it was not a stretch to wonder whether international service would ever return to LAX.
Last week, American Airlines announced that it was abandoning the majority of its longhaul routes from LAX, including:
- Buenos Aires
- Hong Kong
- Sao Paulo
I asked Patrick Quayle, United’s Vice President for International Network and Alliances if this would be an opportunity for United. He told me:
“As airlines continue to move through the current environment and make changes and adjustments to their network offerings, there may be opportunities for United. We remain committed to serving the Los Angeles market and we will continue to closely monitor demand and adjust our schedules as demand dictates.”
The restoration of United’s LAX-SYD service at least represents a commitment to the Los Angeles longhaul market. The flight will operate three days per week (Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday outbound and Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday inbound) according its historic UA839/842 schedule. A Boeing 787-9 will be utilized.
In September, the only other planned United longhaul flight from LAX is to Tokyo Haneda, utilizing a 787-10. Service to Tokyo Narita, Shanghai, London, and Melbourne remains suspended.
United will resume Sydney flights from LAX this autumn. Thus far, American has not announced when its Los Angeles – Sydney flights will officially restart. Delta resumed flights last week. United’s willingness to resume traffic on a highly-competitive route gives hopes that other LAX cutbacks will be restored.