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From Golden Gate Bridge to Story Bridge – flights to start daily

20 Apr 2023

One of the world’s largest carriers, United Airlines, is set to more than double its popular direct San Francisco to Brisbane flights.

Late last year United’s first ever direct flights between northern California and the Queensland capital commenced with 3 services a week but, due to its popularity, will increase to daily services later this year.

The United Airlines announcement, made in conjunction with Brisbane Airport Corporation and the Queensland Government, is another boost to the state’s rebounding international travel market.

Just over a year ago, the Queensland Government announced a $200 million post-COVID Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF) comprising $100 million from the state government matched dollar for dollar by airports, regional tourism organisations and tourism operators.

To date 16 services have been announced to receive support from the fund. These services are estimated to deliver more than 1.18 million inbound international seats, up to $986 million overnight visitor expenditure and support 9,185 Queensland jobs.

When United’s San Francisco to Brisbane services commence in October, travellers will be able to swap the iconic Golden Gate Bridge for Brisbane’s Story Bridge then venture on to see the sights of Brisbane, head to the state’s famous beaches, regional centres, rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef or the Outback each and every day.

The increase from United’s three daily services per week to seven per week will see estimated economic benefits soar:

  • airline seats per week per year will rise from 40,202 to 93,805
  • annual visitor arrivals grow from 14,537 to 33,920
  • overnight spend per annum increase from $26.7 million to $62.3 million
  • jobs created rise from 260 to 610.

Aviation is critical to Queensland’s international tourism recovery and achieving the state’s target of more than doubling Queensland’s visitor economy through the Towards Tourism 2032 strategy in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff described United’s announcement as ‘terrific news for tourism and hospitality businesses from Coolangatta to the Cape’.

“Queensland exporters will also welcome the significant additional cargo capacity that comes with increasing the number of international flights to our state,” he said.

“For example, the inaugural United Airlines flight from Brisbane to San Francisco last year wasn’t just filled with passengers, it carried more than 15 tonnes of high-quality refrigerated Queensland beef bound for US dining tables, generating welcome export dollars and returns for the State’s farming communities.

“More frequent services are great news for jobs and the economy and offer Queenslanders even more direct connections to United Airlines extensive network across North America.”

Patrick Quayle, United Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances said the network enhancements would make United the largest carrier between the US and Brisbane and provide unparalleled access and connectivity for travellers.

“Last year, United became the only airline to offer a direct flight between San Francisco and Brisbane,” he said.

During her first official visit to Queensland as United States Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy said: “This is a great result for Queensland and such an important investment by United Airlines in Australia.”

“They know what so many Americans know, that Queensland is unique in the world and a destination of choice. Americans love coming to Australia because of the wonderful people, the rich cultural heritage, and the incredible landscapes.

“This announcement is a sign of our ever-growing economic relationship and the enormous flow of students, business people, researchers and workers between Australia and the United States.”

Negotiations are ongoing with a range of other airlines for additional services into Queensland’s international airports. It is estimated the total AAIF could deliver 5.3 million airline seats per year generating almost $4 billion in overnight visitor experience.