United Airlines to return to 11 cities in Asia, Europe and South America in July

May 30, 2020

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United Airlines will resume flying a quarter of its schedule in July as the carrier builds back its route map from the depths of its coronavirus pandemic cuts.

The Star Alliance carrier will return to 11 long-haul cities in Asia, Europe and South America, United said on May 29. Destinations include Brussels (BRU), Buenos Aires (EZE), Delhi (DEL), Dublin (DUB), Hong Kong (HKG), Lima (LIM), Munich (MUC), Seoul Incheon (ICN), Singapore (SIN), Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Zurich (ZRH).

United will operate a Boeing 787, what is now its long-haul “workhorse,” on most of its intercontinental flights. The 787-9 and 787-10 will fly nearly 94% of flights in July, according to Cirium schedules. The latter aircraft are fully outfitted with the airline’s latest onboard products, including Polaris business class and Premium Plus premium economy seats.

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United Airlines' planned long-haul international routes in July 2020. (Image by Cirium)
United Airlines’ planned long-haul international routes in July 2020. (Image by Cirium)

The route resumptions come as travelers still face a patchwork of country-by-country restrictions, including mandatory quarantines, aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Officials expect these limits to slow the return of international travelers for some time, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting a three- to four-year recovery in long-haul flying.

“United’s always going to be larger internationally than our peers,” said United CEO Scott Kirby when asked about how the airline will build back its map at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference on May 28.

International flying has been core to United since it acquired Pan Am’s Pacific assets in 1986. In 2019, 18% of the airline’s passengers flew on international flights — at least four points more than at either American Airlines or Delta Air Lines — according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics via Cirium.

Related: American, Delta and United plan to fly these long-haul international routes in June


United’s international focus hit it hard during the early days of the crisis. The Chicago-based carrier canceled 90% of its schedule in May and June, while its more U.S. domestic-focused competitors, like Southwest Airlines, are able to operate up to half of their schedules.

In addition to the additional long-haul routes, United plans to return to 16 destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America in July. These include key hubs like Panama City (PTY) and beach destinations like Nassau (NAS) and Punta Cana (PUJ).

Below is a list of international routes United plans to resume in July. Some, including Singapore, are subject to government approval.

Related: United Airlines CEO says flying is safe, even without social distancing onboard

Chicago O’Hare

  • Tokyo Haneda

Houston Bush Intercontinental

  • Belize City (BZE)
  • Buenos Aires
  • Guatemala City (GUA)
  • Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)
  • Lima
  • Montego Bay (MBJ)
  • Nassau
  • Panama City
  • Punta Cana
  • Queretaro, Mexico (QRO)
  • Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
  • San Luis Potosi, Mexico (SLP)
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
  • San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)

Newark Liberty

  • Aruba (AUA)
  • Delhi
  • Dublin
  • Montego Bay
  • Nassau
  • Punta Cana
  • Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)
  • Santo Domingo (SDQ)

San Francisco

  • Delhi
  • Hong Kong
  • Seoul Incheon
  • Singapore via a stop in Hong Kong
  • Tel Aviv

Washington Dulles

  • Brussels
  • London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Munich
  • Zurich

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG.

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