United Airlines plans expansion of flights between US, Europe

Airline said it will serve more transatlantic destinations than every other US carrier combined

United Airlines plans to offer more flights across the Atlantic Ocean this summer than it did in 2019. 

The company said Tuesday that it will raise that capacity by 25% over pre-pandemic levels, including some new destinations. 

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"We will be the largest carrier across the transatlantic," Patrick Quayle, the airline’s senior vice president of international network and alliances, said

In a Tuesday news release, United said it was the biggest single transatlantic expansion in its history, serving more transatlantic destinations than every other U.S. carrier combined and becoming the largest airline across the Atlantic for the first time in history.

"In total, United will launch or resume 30 transatlantic flights from mid-April through early June. This includes adding new nonstop flights to five distinctive leisure destinations no other North American airline serves, including Amman, Jordan; Bergen, Norway; Azores, Portugal; Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands. The airline is also launching five new nonstop flights to some of Europe's most popular business and tourist hubs, including London, Milan, Zurich, Munich and Nice. United is also resuming 14 Atlantic routes the airline has historically served and adding frequencies in six others," it wrote. 

It said it would also be the only North American carrier to fly to popular destinations in Jordan, Norway, Portugal and Spain.

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"Things we love: New routes," the airline tweeted Monday. "Our new nonstop flight from Denver–Munich is now flying daily on a 787-9 and Chicago–Zurich is flying daily on a 767."

United said it was also growing its presence in Africa as part of the expansion. 

"On May 8, United will increase its service to offer daily flights between Washington/Dulles and Accra, Ghana. The airline will also extend its existing seasonal service to Cape Town to year-round, with nonstop flights from New York/Newark resuming June 5, subject to government approval," it wrote. 

"We have long anticipated a strong demand recovery, evidenced by our large, strategic expansion in Europe and with these new flights, we're proud to offer our customers more options and access than ever before," said Quayle. "United continues to leverage its leading global network in new and exciting ways to help our customers make meaningful memories and experience new cultures around the world."

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Even before Tuesday’s announcement, United had scheduled more passenger-carrying capacity to Europe in June and July than its closest rivals.

Quayle said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine does not seem to be affecting bookings to Europe, though there might be "a little bit" of weakness for connecting flights into Poland or Romania.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.