Direct flights from the East Coast of the United States to Australia got a step closer this week, among a number of other new developments in air travel.
Qantas announced plans to launch three new test flights on direct routes between New York and London and Sydney as part of Project Sunrise, the airline’s effort to eventually operate regular, nonstop commercial flights from the two cities to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne on Australia’s eastern coast. The test flights, which will take place in October, November and December, will monitor the health and wellness impacts of the 19-hour flight on passengers and crew. Boeing 787-9 aircraft will operate the test flights, carrying a maximum of 40 passengers and crew in order to extend their range.
United Airlines, meanwhile, announced 12 new and expended international destinations from Chicago, Denver, New York – Newark and San Francisco as part of its summer 2020 international services. The airline will return to Curacao for the first time in a decade with a new weekly flight out of Newark, starting December 7, 2019. On May 2, 2020, it will begin operating a daily nonstop Newark – Nice, France, route, and on May 20, 2020, it will begin offering nonstop daily Newark – Palermo, Italy, service. From Chicago O’Hare, the airline will launch daily nonstop service to Zurich, Switzerland, starting March 28, 2020.
United is also adding capacity on a number of routes as part of its summer 2020 international schedule. From Newark, it will add a second daily flight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Frankfurt, Germany, starting March 28, 2020, while from Denver, the airline will expand its London service to year-round as of November 1, 2019. The airline is also expanding its San Francisco – New Delhi, India, route to year-round, and it is extending seasonal service between Newark and Athens, Greece; Naples, Italy; and Porto, Portugal, and between Washington and Barcelona, Spain. United will resume service one month earlier between New York/Newark and Porto, Portugal, on March 28, 2020, and it will resume service between New York/Newark and Athens and Naples, and between Washington and Barcelona two weeks earlier, on May 8, 2020.
In Asia, the United States and Japan finalized an agreement for 12 new slot pairs at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The new flights are expected to begin on or around March 29, 2020.
Finally, in Mexico, Volaris announced the opening of a new seasonal route between Monterrey and Mazatlán; from December 7, 2019, through January 20, 2020, it will operate four times per week on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The airline is also increasing capacity on its routes out of Chicago by adding two additional weekly frequencies between Midway and Zacatecas on Monday and Saturday; two additional weekly frequencies from both Midway and O’Hare to Guadalajara on Tuesday and Thursday; an additional Saturday frequency between Midway and León; and three additional weekly frequencies between Midway and Morelia on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The new Chicago frequencies will run December 7, 2019, through January 13, 2020.