United Airlines will begin offering daily, nonstop service between Houston and Sydney on Jan. 18.
At 8,596 miles, it will be United's second-longest flight. Its Los Angeles-Singapore flight remains the longest.
Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network, said the new international flight is possible because United is rearranging flights at Bush intercontinental Airport this fall to make connections more efficient.
The new route will provide more than 70 cities across North America with one-stop service to Sydney. For example, United customers originating in Charlotte, N.C., currently have to fly to Chicago to connect to San Francisco to get to Sydney. With United's new flight from Houston, customers would have just one stop.
"We're not just going after the Houston traffic," Quayle said.Well, yeah; that's not the way hubs work. But Houston is big enough, and there are enough people with ties to Australia living in it, that there will nevertheless be plenty of local traffic on this flight.
The Houston-Sydney route, to be flown using Boeing 787-9 Deamliner aircraft, will create a second linkage to that region of the world, complementing Air New Zealand's service to Auckland. Today in the Sky has more.
In addition to this service, United is also resuming non-stop flights to Mazatlán, Mexico (which were halted five years ago, when the airline threw a temper tantrum regarding the city's decision to allow Southwest to fly internationally out of Hobby). Additionally, Bahamian carrier Bahamasair is introducing flights from Nassau to IAH in November.