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The airline is planning for significant growth in 2022.
Like many airlines, United has faced its fare share of challenges over the last year and a half, with plenty of shifts occurring in recent months. In mid-November, the airline ended the last of its alcohol restrictions—which it had put in place during the pandemic—by lifting its ban on the sale of hard liquor on flights. United also began cutting flight routes to 11 different cities at the end of that month. Now, the airline has announced that it’s planning even more changes in 2022. Read on to find out the latest update from United Airlines.
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Amid a time when flights cuts are a regular occurrence, United Airlines has just announced that it is actually restoring some of its flight routes for next year. According to Insider, the airline will bring back four routes to Alaska, starting in the summer of 2022. On June 3, United will resume daily service between Anchorage, Alaska and three major hubs: Newark, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; and San Francisco, California. The airline will also restore a route between Chicago, Illinois, and Fairbanks, Alaska, on that date as well.
These routes are not new for the airline but they were not originally a part of United’s planned summer network, according to Insider. The airline will also increase the number of times it flies between Chicago and Anchorage from once to twice a day, with both changes coming as a result of demand for leisure travel increasing in Alaska.
“These routes represent our ongoing commitment to Alaska and belief it will continue to be an appealing destination for tourists next year,” United said in a statement to Insider. “During the pandemic, we’ve seen more customers gravitate toward leisure destinations where they can socially distance—and Alaska offers a lot of great opportunities for outdoor exploration.”
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United is beefing up its schedule for next year beyond just these flights. According to Simple Flying, United is bringing eight routes back to its hub in Denver, Colorado, in 2022. Three Florida airports will resume service to and from Denver in March: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Bay County, Pensacola International Airport, and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.
In May, flights will start back up between Burlington International Airport in Vermont and Denver. And then flights from the city to and from four airports will be restored in June: Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in Coos County, Oregon; Portland International Jetport in Cumberland County, Maine; Friedman Memorial Airport in Blame County, Idaho; and Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan.
“It is not uncommon for airlines to return some routes to the schedule later than others and likely has to do with United focusing on ensuring it has the aircraft and crew to operate these flights,” Simple Flying said.
According to Simple Flying, United Airlines will also add routes to some cities in 2022. The airline is adding seasonal summer routes to and from different airports across the country for Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; and Washington, D.C.
These additions and the resumed routes fall in line with recent remarks from United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. In a November video message to employees that was reviewed by Live and Let’s Fly, Kirby highlighted plans to further United’s growth in a way that would make it the largest airline in the world by the summer of 2022.
“What we’re doing in the next couple years is going to really solidify our position as the leading global airline in a way that no one else could ever catch up with us,” Kirby said, per Live and Let’s Fly. “We are responsibly growing [our] schedule back. You’re going to see us quickly go from having a smaller schedule during COVID when it was appropriate to have a smaller schedule to, as we see real demand at Christmas and the business demand start to recover in January, you’re going to see us … getting back to 100 percent and well beyond 100 percent of where were were in 2019.”
He added, “By the time we get to next summer … all of our business travel won’t be back yet, but we’re going to be the largest airline in the world, I suspect.”
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