American Airlines is set to reinstate its Los Angeles-Sydney route from early January 2022 after pausing it at the end of August.
The AA73 flight departing from Los Angeles International Airport will return to Sydney on 6 January, operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Sydney’s return flight to Los Angeles will operate on flight AA72 on 6 January.
In late June, New South Wales reported its first cluster of COVID-19 cases in months as the Delta strain began to surge. The high cases plunged the state into lockdown rapidly, with Victoria following close behind.
Due to the high infection rates, the Australian federal government halved the number of international arrivals it accepted from 14 July.
Australia then began to accept just over 3,000 people a week, which led to numerous US airlines pausing their Sydney routes – a major blow to Australian tourism.
“On certain days in July and August, the Australian government has advised that we’re not able to transport customers on the route due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” American said in early July.
Due to the “ongoing travel restrictions” the company halted flights to Sydney between 1 September and 28 October, a spokesman told Executive Traveller.
At the time, the carrier said it was “too soon” to tell if the pause would go beyond October.
American remained stricter compared to competing airlines in the US who maintained routes to Australia, even during the outbreak.
In March 2020 – when the pandemic became global – United Airlines paused its Los Angeles route to its two Australian destinations, Sydney and Melbourne.
But only months later in September, the airline resumed its Los Angeles to Sydney route, and maintained its flight schedule with the nation during the latest outbreak.
Delta Air Lines chose to maintain its flights to Sydney during the last few months.