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United to touchdown in Queensland with Brisbane-San Francisco route

written by Hannah Dowling | June 9, 2022

A file image of a United Boeing 787-9 in Melbourne in 2015. (Rob Finlayson)

United Airlines will land in Queensland for the first time with the launch of its new direct flights between Brisbane and San Francisco in October.

The new route forms part of a $200 million campaign by the Queensland state government to drive tourism and aviation to the Sunshine State and was announced by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday.

United will perform the route three times per week initially on its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, bringing an extra 40,000 international seats per year into the Queensland capital.

“United has never flown to Queensland. The airline has more than 100 million loyalty members and is the largest and longest-serving US carrier in the Australian market,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“This airline route is also of strategic importance for Queensland when it comes to growing our share of the international tourism market.


“San Francisco is a major hub for United with direct connectivity to 80 North American cities. By securing these flights, Queensland becomes an easy choice for thousands of visitors throughout the US.”

The Queensland Premier said the deal would support 385 local jobs and inject $73 million into the economy.

“Rebuilding Queensland’s tourism industry is a priority for our government,” she said.

“We’re aggressively pursuing new direct flights to our key tourism destinations to drive visitation and support local jobs. That’s what our Attracting Aviation Investment Fund is designed to do.”

“Before the pandemic, the US was Queensland’s third largest tourism customer, landing 236,000 visitors a year and generating up to $419 million,” added Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

“Attracting direct international flights is a very competitive business.

“Our $200 million partnership with Queensland’s four international airports and the tourism industry is Australia’s biggest aviation attraction fund and it’s paying dividends.”

Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United said, “With this new service, United will be the first US airline to add a new transpacific destination to its global network since the start of the pandemic.

“From Brisbane, United customers will be able to easily connect to nearly 20 other cities within Australia thanks to the airline’s new codeshare partnership with Virgin Australia.

“United was the only carrier to maintain service between Australia and the US during the pandemic,” he added.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve looked for strategic ways to grow our international network, and we’re proud to be the first US airline to put a new dot on our route map across the Pacific to show our sustained commitment to the region as it recovers.

It comes after United’s new partnership with Virgin Australia officially kicked off, following a formal launch event in Sydney ahead of the first codeshare flight from Sydney to San Francisco.

“With United’s strong history in Australia – and now with a great partner in Virgin Australia – it’s the ideal time for United to expand service to Brisbane as demand for travel continues to grow,” Quayle added.

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Comments (4)

  • Basil Brushe


    Excellent news for Brisbane! Decent aircraft and travel times for onward connections.

  • CapnJay


    This is really good to see, opening up more competition and routes.
    After recently paying well over $6000USD for a trip back to South America from Brisbane.. economy!!!! i welcome any option to avoid that.

  • Hayden


    United has actually flown to Queensland. They flew to Brisbane from Guam with 727s in the 80’s and they flew to Cairns from Guam with 737-700s up until 2015

  • Dan


    Just to nitpick a bit, this isn’t the ‘first time’ that United has landed in Queensland. United used to operate a twice weekly CNS-GUM service, picking up that route from the UA/CO merger.

    If we go way back, UA also briefly operated a LAX-SYD-BNE tag in the mid 90s before it was axed at the end of summer (January) 1994

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