United Reveals New Long-Haul Routes To India, Hawaii, And Africa

United Airlines has announced that it is launching seven new long-haul routes to India, Hawaii, and Africa. The carrier is adding four new destinations to its route network while expanding existing services to three cities. Here’s where United is growing its flights, subject to government approval.

United Airlines
United Airlines is betting big on long-haul routes next year. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking on the new routes, Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances, stated the following:

“Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family and colleagues around the world. These new nonstop routes provide shorter travel times and convenient one-stop connections from across the United States, demonstrating United’s continued innovative and forward-looking approach to rebuilding our network to meet the travel needs of our customers.”

New flights to Africa

United is adding three nonstops to Africa from its East Coast hubs. From Washington-Dulles (IAD), United will add three weekly flights each to Accra in Ghana (ACC) and Lagos in Nigeria (LOS).

Both of these destinations will be served with a Boeing 787-8 from spring 2021. United has previously flown from Washington DC to Accra, terminating the route in the early part of the last decade. The airline also used to fly to Lagos from Houston (IAH) but pulled those flights back in 2016.

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Heading down to South Africa, from Newark (EWR), United will launch daily 787-9 flights to Johannesburg (JNB), complementing its seasonal flights to Cape Town (CPT). These flights will also start in spring 2021.

United will join Delta as the other US airline flying to Johannesburg. Using the Boeing 787-9, United will be able to fly the return journey nonstop while Delta will make a stop in Cape Town.

United Africa
United’s three new Africa routes. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Expanding in India

United Airlines remains the largest US carrier to fly between the US and India with flights to Delhi and Mumbai (BOM). Now, United is expanding its presence in the booming South Asian country.

Starting in winter 2020, United is planning daily 787-9 flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to New Delhi (DEL). On the route, United will try and leverage its connections plus the second-highest population of Indian Americans in the US that live in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Capitalizing on the robust IT industry in Bangalore (BLR), United will launch daily 787-9 flights to San Francisco starting in spring 2021. United is beating out American Airlines by a couple of months with flights to BLR as the latter plans a Seattle to Bengaluru flight from winter 2021. Already, United flies to New Delhi from San Francisco.

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The 787-9 has the range and payload capabilities to fly both of United’s new India routes. Photo: United Airlines

Adding new flights to Hawaii

To Hawaii, United Airlines is launching four weekly flights using a Boeing 767-300ER to Kahului, Maui (OGG) from Newark (EWR), starting in Summer 2021. This route will not be the longest scheduled domestic route in the United States, but it will be a long-haul that will take passengers from a big city to an island getaway.

Next up to Hawaii are new flights to Kona (KOA) from ORD starting in summer 2021. These flights will also operate four times per week using a Boeing 787-8.

United Airlines Newark
The 767 will operate nonstop from Newark to Maui. Photo: Getty Images

Analyzing these new routes

United is betting big on Africa. With South African Airways looking unlikely to serve long-haul destinations, United is stepping in. SAA used to fly from Johannesburg to Washington-Dulles with a stop in Accra. SAA had traffic rights for passengers solely between Accra and IAD, as well.

Not to mention, the South African carrier also flew between New York and Johannesburg, though out of John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport using an Airbus A350. Now, United will step in and be able to cover both of those routes, ensuring continued service on the routes.

United planes getty
The fact that this growth is out of hubs should help United keep its planes full. Photo: Getty Images

As for India, United is hoping that its Bangalore route will prove to be successful thanks to the large tech centers on both ends. Bangalore is also one of the largest cities in India, coupled with connections; United could offer one of the best one-stop journeys to South India until American Airlines starts up its new flights.

New Delhi is also a big market and one where the airline already flies out of to a variety of destinations. Connecting it to its Chicago hub should prove successful in tapping into both origin and destination (O&D) and connecting demand. Plus, the airline will only compete with fellow Star Alliance carrier Air India, compared to which United definitely has a better onboard product.

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Unfortunately, United is not adding any new routes out of other hubs in Houston or Denver at this time. Photo: Getty Images

And, of course, Hawaii is a natural getaway for a lot of US residents. The 787-8 and 767s will do well to help connect leisure and some premium leisure travelers to the islands. United already flies to Maui from three cities in the US and even flies from Chicago to Maui nonstop. Denver, meanwhile, sees nonstop service to Kona as well. Chicago will complement that service.

What do you make of United’s seven new long-haul routes? Let us know in the comments!