United Airlines Bets on Return of Trans-Atlantic Travel

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Some airlines say they expect international travel to increase as restrictions are eased

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Airlines have already rolled out their plans as conditions have changed throughout the pandemic, and carriers have had to delay new routes or pull back on flying when a new surge in cases or new travel restrictions dented long-term plans. Derailed. But airline executives have said that this year points to strong bookings during the brief summer travel season and resilient demand ahead of the winter holidays.

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United chief executive Scott Kirby has said in recent months that the summer of 2022 could be the busiest for trans-Atlantic travel, with border restrictions being eased, much like the rapid rebound in domestic travel last summer. International travel has picked up.

In hopes of capturing that demand, the airline said it plans to launch flights to five new destinations in May and June: Amman, Jordan; Bergen, Norway; Azores, Mallorca and Canary Islands.

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These are places that are difficult to reach,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president for international networks and alliances at United.

As the international air travel pandemic slowed airline route maps over the past year and a half, the global network shrank dramatically.

The new flights United plans to launch next spring show how the world is restarting and how travel has evolved. United is expanding its offerings to meet growing holiday demand, Mr Quayle said.

United plans to expand service from some of its major US hubs to major European cities, including Berlin and Rome, next spring. It is also planning to launch new flights that were delayed by the pandemic, including daily flights from San Francisco to Bangalore and many more.

United experimented with new international flight during the pandemic, adding new flights to popular tourist destinations including Reykjavik, Iceland, Athens, Greece and Dubrovnik, Croatia – Mr Quayle said the route was successful as customers sought new destinations. that were open. American tourist. It also extended the service to Africa and India, in areas where it did not have much presence, to woo customers visiting friends and relatives.

European countries began allowing US tourists to re-visit in the summer, but the European Union recommended halting non-essential travel from the US in late August, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and growing dismay. The US did not lift its sanctions. On European Union travelers. In practice, however, most countries continue to allow Americans to travel, although many require vaccination or testing.

Starting next month, the Biden administration is expected to ease travel restrictions that barred most travelers from Europe, the UK and other countries from coming to the US, instead requiring foreign nationals to travel to the US to show proof of vaccination. would be required. .

Other airlines on both sides of the Atlantic are also reviving defunct routes and hoping for a surge in demand. Delta Airlines Inc.

Chief executive Ed Bastian said on Wednesday he expects European travel next spring and summer to look a lot like the busy summer airlines for US domestic travel did.

Alison Cider at [email protected]

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