CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines on Thursday announced an expansion of its transatlantic service next year, adding five new destinations to capitalize on pent-up travel demand.
U.S. carriers are buoyed by the Biden administration’s decision to reopen to fully vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries, including most of Europe, in November.
In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, transatlantic routes accounted for up to 17% of passenger revenues for the big three U.S. carriers – United, Delta and American.
The airlines have said they have seen a surge in bookings since the White House announced the lifting of the travel restrictions last month. United has said that it expects the transatlantic route to have the busiest ever summer next year.
In May, the company will start new flights from Washington to Amman in Jordan, New York to the Azores, and New York to Bergen in Norway. In June, it plans to start flights from New York to Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands.
Anticipating an increase in travel demand, the Chicago-based carrier is also planning to add more flights to Munich, Milan, Berlin, Rome and Dublin.
“We will be flying to more destinations across the Atlantic than ever in the company’s history,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United. “We are confident that bookings across the transatlantic will be the best.”
Other carriers are also gearing up for the reopening of the world’s most important long-haul market. Delta Air Lines Inc on Wednesday said all of its flights for Europe next year will have new premium economy seats.
(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)