Chicago based United Airlines yesterday announced it’s network expansion to three African cities of Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, and Johannesburg in South Africa starting late Spring in 2021.
After several months of comatose in the aviation industry due to the unprecedented effect of the COVID19 pandemic, flight operations are starting to pick up as the pandemic appears to be slowing down. Airlines across the World are developing different strategies to recover as quickly as possible. United has chosen to add to its network of long-haul flights as a strategy to rejig its operations.
United Airlines’ Vice President of international network and alliances, Patrick Quayle while making the announcement stated that “We’re really focused on rethinking the network, We’re not just looking at adding everything back the way it was prior to the coronavirus, and so what we’re looking at trying to do is come up with more convenient travel.”
Quayle further added that “It’s long been a dream to serve Jo-burg nonstop from the U.S. But until recently, the airline didn’t have the technology in its fleet to operate the route without a layover. “We’ve been working closely with Boeing and closely with GE, and there are some new technological enhancements and engine enhancements” on the Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 jet, Quayle says. “That has unlocked the ability to serve Johannesburg nonstop roundtrip.”
United had on 30th June 2016 halted its last service to Africa when it announced the termination of the Houston Lagos Houston route citing “weakness in the energy sector and difficulties in collecting money from tickets sold in that country”. The Nigerian route will be from Lagos’ Murtala International Airport to Washington’s Dulles International Airport on a B787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.
The airline also announced two flights from Chicago to Hawaii from December 2020 and from San Francisco to Bangalore starting Spring 2021.