The world’s second-largest airline will finally add Brisbane to its destination list when US-based United Airlines launches services to San Francisco in October.
The aviation giant was lured to Queensland through which was set up in February as international border restrictions eased.
United will fly to and from San Francisco’s international airport, , three times a week from October 28.
Speaking at Brisbane Airport on Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the tri-weekly flights would be worth $73 million to the Queensland economy.
, international travel’s back, and people should have that extra confidence and I think today there is confidence around because you’ll be able to go three times over to San Francisco and that’s fantastic news, she said.
It’s the start of many more international airlines coming back to Brisbane and, don’t forget, we’ve got that second runway out there and we want to utilise it.
Ms Palaszczuk said the flights would have benefits beyond the Queensland tourism industry.
We have great business relationships, and especially San Francisco being that start-up capital of the US, and we’ve got a lot of innovation happening here, she said.
So I think you’re going to see a lot of companies going backwards and forwards.
Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said the post-COVID recovery was now in full swing.
Finally, after two very difficult years, we see our industry recovering, he said.
We had days here at Brisbane Airport with virtually no international travellers. The good news is we’re back at 40 per cent of the pre-COVID levels.
With an announcement like this, it’s pretty obvious that we’re not only seeing the light at end of the tunnel, but we’re out of the tunnel.
The flights will depart Brisbane on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with flights from San Francisco departing Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Prior to the pandemic, Qantas had direct flights between Brisbane and San Francisco. The airline has not announced a resumption of those services.
Still, Wednesday’s United Airlines announcement was the latest sign the North American market was reopening to Queensland.
In March, , following a pandemic-forced hiatus.
Qantas had , but COVID-19 put paid to those plans.
In another sign of a return to normality earlier this year, .
The $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund was a joint venture between the state government, which poured in half the funding, and the state’s major airports.