US Airlines adjusts flights to Australia ahead of border reopening

Flights between the United States and Australia continue to struggle to attract passengers, with several airlines in recent days announcing the suspension of existing services and delays in returning some previously paused flights. In recent days, Qantas, United Airlines and American Airlines have all made decisions about flights and schedules between the two countries.

United Airlines and American Airlines make decisions about their Australian flights

United Airlines may be able to water down its business relationship with Virgin Australia at the cost of a shutdown Delta Air Lines, but that won’t stop United from delaying the restart of two routes to Australia. Over the weekend, the Chicago-based airline confirmed it would postpone the restart of the Sydney – Houston and Melbourne – Los Angeles routes until October 28. capacity.

United Airlines continues to operate between Sydney and Los Angeles and Sydney and San Francisco. But to give you an idea of ​​how these flights are going, an Australian Frequent Flyer forum post reveals a United Airlines Sydney – San Francisco flight on Monday operated with just 16% of seats occupied, including just 28 of the 266 available economy seats. class occupied.

Meanwhile, American Airlines is suspending flights on the Los Angeles – Sydney flight in May. American Airlines also temporarily suspended its Australia flights in 2021, but resumed services last month. The Los Angeles – Sydney route is American Airlines’ only Australian route. The suspension of Sydney services was just one of many international routes on which American is now interrupting or postponing the resumption of services. Across its network, American Airlines reduced departures by about 19.1% and seats by about 17.5% in May as it aligns its schedule with general demand.


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United Airlines has postponed the resumption of flights between Sydney – Houston and Melbourne – Los Angeles. Photo: United Airlines

Mixed news from Qantas

Delta Air Lines will continue to operate its daily Los Angeles-Sydney A350-900 flights. Meanwhile, Qantas flies between Sydney and Los Angeles and Melbourne and Los Angeles. Qantas operates a combination of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft on the Sydney – Los Angeles route and Boeing 787-9 aircraft between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Qantas will also resume services between Sydney and Dallas Fort Worth later this month, albeit with a Dreamliner instead of the traditional A380. However, Qantas is also quietly suspending its flights between Sydney and Honolulu in February and March, after only resuming operations on the route in December.

The planned resumption of Qantas services to San Francisco has also been paused. The restart of the Sydney – San Francisco flights in mid-February has now been postponed to the end of July. Scheduled services between Brisbane and San Francisco, also set to resume in mid-February, have quietly disappeared from the books, and there’s no word on when Melbourne to San Francisco flights may restart.


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Qantas has quietly postponed restarting its flights to San Francisco. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

A turbulent flight environment between the United States and Australia

It amounts to a volatile and uncertain flying environment between the United States and Australia. The airlines’ announcements preceded the news Monday that Australia would reopen to fully vaccinated tourists later this month. However, given the ongoing dialogue between airlines and governments, it is difficult to accept that the airlines did not know that a policy change was imminent. But the airlines adjusted their flights anyway.

While Australia may roll out the welcome mat later this month, the airlines’ decisions say a lot about their outlook on future passenger numbers between the United States and Australia this year. The Australian government may be flipping the switch to open, but the airlines don’t seem to think it will mean people will pour in.


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