United Airlines announced it will be the first U.S. airline to fly to Bangalore, India starting in 2021.
A daily flight to Bangalore from San Francisco will begin next summer after much pressure from regular international travelers. Flights to India’s capital, New Delhi, will also be available this December from Chicago O’Hare, providing a new option beyond Newark, New Jersey, and San Francisco.
Bangalore was the company’s “most requested destination,” according to United communications director Josh Earnst.
United also announced new international flight options into South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana, while expanding domestic flight options to Hawaii to attract leisure travelers.
Customers traveling to Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria will have three weekly nonstop flights from Washington Dulles airport beginning in spring 2021. A daily nonstop flight from Newark, New Jersey to Johannesburg will also be added. This is the latest expansion into South Africa after the Chicago-based airline announced Cape Town flights this past December.
“We are looking for places where we have low shares that has more upside for the future United and our travelers,” said United Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella.
Domestically, the airline plans to extend travel routes to Hawaii to include Newark to Maui and Chicago to Kona. This comes after the airline announced last month that it will expand nonstop options to Florida vacation spots like Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando from cities like New York and Boston in November.
According to Earnst, these plans have long been in the works, and the company will move ahead despite concerns from consumers on safely traveling during the pandemic.
By October, international flights will account for roughly 35 percent of the airline’s flights, down from 44 percent last October. United said that its third-quarter capacity will likely be down 70 percent from last year.
United CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC that he expects demand to plateau at roughly 50 percent of 2019 levels until a vaccine is presented.