United Airlines has announced it will increase the frequency of its forthcoming direct Melbourne-Los Angeles Boeing 787-9 flights to daily from March 12 next year.
In February the US carrier announced that it would operate new non-stop MEL-LAX flights six days a week from October 28 using the 787-9. Currently, United operates a daily to Melbourne from Los Angeles via a ‘tag’ flight from Sydney.
United managing director for Japan and Pacific sales Matt Miller said the airline was expecting to take delivery of its first 787-9 in July and a second one shortly afterwards. “The two -9s will we’re getting this year will be pretty much exclusive on the Melbourne route as it takes two aircraft to do the route given the flight times,” Miller told Australian Aviation in a recent interview. “The 787 allows us to launch new routes like this, but also to get into existing markets where we benefit from the economics of the aircraft.”
United, which is the 787-9 launch customer in North America, will have 48 BusinessFirst, 63 economy plus and 141 economy class seats on the aircraft. Melbourne will be the second Australian port to receive 787-9 services, with Air New Zealand planning Auckland-Perth flights from mid-October.
United flight UA98 is scheduled to depart Los Angeles at 2130, arriving into Melbourne at 0715 two days later. The return flight departs Melbourne at 1015 and lands at LAX at 0650.