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Queensland lands major US airline

08 June 2022

A partnership between the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has landed its first target, securing new direct flights between San Francisco and Brisbane via the $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

United Airlines, the world’s second largest carrier, will fly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners three times a week between San Francisco and Brisbane – bringing up to 40,000 additional visitors each year to Queensland.

The new service is expected to boost overnight visitor expenditure by $73 million and support 385 direct jobs.

United has never flown direct to Queensland, only to the southern capitals. This is quite a coup for the state.

The airline has more than 100 million loyalty members and is the largest and longest-serving US carrier in the Australian market with seven hubs in North America.

San Francisco is a major hub for United with connectivity to more than 80 North American destinations.

Recognising that international aviation connectivity is critical to the recovery of Queensland’s tourism industry, the Queensland Government set up the $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund in partnership with Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns airports.

The aim is to bring more overseas passengers to Queensland.

It is the largest investment of any Australian state or territory in securing inbound international flights after COVID-19.

The combined $200 million investment is estimated to deliver up to 5.3 million airline seats per year, generating almost $4 billion in overnight visitor expenditure.

United Airlines will start year-round services from late October.

Pre COVID-19, the US was Queensland’s third largest market by visitation with 236,000 visitors and fourth largest market by expenditure of about $419.2 million in overnight visitor expenditure.