In international route developments, American kicks off a new transpacific route; United changes aircraft on its flights to Sydney; Swiss sets a date for the introduction of its fancy new plane on San Francisco-Zurich service; and Ethiopian Airlines will add a new U.S. gateway.
At the end of March, United Airlines plans equipment changes on its San Francisco-Sydney and Los Angeles-Sydney routes, replacing the 777s it currently uses with 787-9 Dreamliners. United already uses a 787-9 on its Los Angeles-Melbourne route. United’s 787-9s have 48 flat-bed BusinessFirst seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, 88 in Economy Plus and 116 in regular economy. The planes have in-flight Wi-Fi as well as power and USB ports.
Following up on its December introduction of Los Angeles-Sydney 777-300ER service, American Airlines has now started up new daily service between LAX and Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport, using a two-class 787-8 Dreamliner. The new flight is operated as part of AA’s transpacific joint venture with Japan Airlines; both JAL and American continue to offer LAX-Tokyo Narita service as well. Through the end of April, American is offering passengers on the new Haneda route a promotional bonus of 5,000 to 20,000 AAdvantage miles, depending on fare category. In other international route news, American will increase service to Bermuda from New York JFK starting February15, operating a second roundtrip six days a week (increasing to daily March 3).
A representative of Lufthansa subsidiary SWISS tells Travelskills that the airline is targeting August 30 for the introduction of its new 777-300ER on the Zurich-San Francisco route. The aircraft will have eight first class seats, 62 in business class and 270 in economy. In addition to providing in-flight Wi-Fi, SWISS is reportedly planning to experiment with in-flight phone service on its 777-300ERs. It will go onto the Zurich-New York JFK route four times a week starting February 21, but only until late March, when it moves to Zurich-Montreal. The aircraft is expected to debut on the Zurich-Los Angeles route in June. It will replace SWISS Airbus A340s.
Ethiopian Airlines has started taking reservations for new service beginning July 3 between Addis Ababa and New York JFK, operating via a stop in Lome, Togo, according to Airlineroute.net. Ethiopian will use a 787-8 on the route. It hasn’t flown to New York since it halted Newark service a dozen years ago; its current U.S. gateways are Washington Dulles and Los Angeles.
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