United Airlines launches Morocco, Colombia flights, beefs up China service


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A United Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft is seen taking off from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Nicolas Economou | Nurphoto | Getty Images

United Airlines is planning to launch flights to Marrakesh, Morocco, and Medellin, Colombia, and ramp up its service to Asia, in the carrier’s latest bet that consumers will continue to shell out for trips abroad.

The flights from United’s Newark, New Jersey, hub to Marrakesh are scheduled to begin Oct. 24 using a Boeing 767-300ER. The carrier’s Houston-to-Medellin flight is slated to start Oct. 27, on Boeing 737s, it said Thursday. The airline is also starting year-round service to Cebu, Philippines, from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

“Our play here with these three cities is premium leisure,” Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of network planning and alliances, told CNBC. “We see strong business [class] demand, and there’s a strong correlation with people buying in biz class and Premium Select with the length of haul.”

U.S. airlines have increased their international service coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and revenue growth from trips abroad has outpaced domestic sales. United’s international revenue grew 18% in the last four months of 2023, while sales from domestic tickets grew less than 7%.

United also said it will offer four weekly flights between Shanghai and Los Angeles starting Aug. 29.

It’s also adding a second daily flight between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and starting Oct. 25, will have second daily flights between San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea, and between Newark and Porto, Portugal.

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