Last month, it was announced that the United States was preparing to ease travel restrictions for unvaccinated passengers. Then, on October 25th, the US government formally shared that the presidential proclamations essentially halting general tourism from Europe will no longer be in effect on November 8th. As a result, according to United Airlines’ leadership, bookings from across the Atlantic Ocean have been rising “by almost right angles.”
A significant market
Between 2015 and 2019, the US had over 4.5 million yearly visitors from the United Kingdom. However, this number dropped to just approximately 700,000 in 2020 due to the conditions of the global health crisis. Since March 2020, travel to the US from the UK and EU has largely been restricted barring exceptions.
Thus, with the recent governmental announcements, United revealed a series of new flight launches. Overall, there are five new flights to the US from London Heathrow.
Bookings on the up
This week, Simple Flying caught up with Bob Schumacher – Director Sales, United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel, South Africa and Off-line markets, United Airlines, about the flight announcements and passenger bookings. He highlighted that the booking curve is looking attractive and United is catching wind of this. Therefore, it’s a terrific opportunity for the carrier to augment this success.
“It was reported by ACI that Denver was the third busiest worldwide airport in the first half of this year. So we’re going to go and put a second daily service there, which is fantastic. For New York, we were originally eyeing up going to six, but we’re going to seven daily services on Heathrow-New York – they get a great step forward. Also, San Francisco, our jewel in the West Coast crown, along with LA, going from two to three services daily for summer of 2022,” Schumacher told Simple Flying.
“And, of course, we start Boston, which we’ve been talking about for a while. and it was really a case of when is the opportune moment to go and start that service? So, that comes along as well. We could not be more excited. We could not have come out of hibernation more dramatically than we had done with this announcement.”
Plenty of potential
New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have long been tourism and economic hotspots that airlines naturally focus on. However, it was only in late 2019 when United’s Denver service became year-round rather than seasonal. Now, United is already doubling down on this operation.
Denver International reported 24.7 million passengers taking off or landing at the airport in the first six months of 2021. This factor had put it only behind Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International and Dallas-Fort Worth when it came to passenger traffic.
Notably, Denver is almost at pre-pandemic capacity. The airport saw 5.9 million passengers in August, down by only 0.96% when compared with 2019.
It’s not only Denver where United is seeing opportunities. The operator is inaugurating a route from London to Boston in March 2022. Interestingly, it’s deploying its premium heavy Boeing 767-300ERs on this service. Overall, the carrier is keen to cater to emerging markets in this new climate.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying