United Airlines commenced operation on its latest transpacific route on 13 July, a 10,037-kilometre link between San Francisco (SFO) and Hangzhou (HGH).
Flown on the Star Alliance member’s 787-9s thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays), the route will face no direct competition. “There’s a strong demand from tourists and business people to visit the cultural sites of Hangzhou, and to do business with the many high-tech companies based in the city,” said Mike Hanna, VP of United’s San Francisco hub. “The flight really connects the Silicon Valley and the ‘Silicon Valley’ in China,” he added.
“We are very excited with the bookings so far, both from China as well as from the US.” Hangzhou becomes the fifth Chinese destination that United serves from San Francisco, with it also serving Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai Pudong and Xi’an, with the latter having launched in May. United also links Los Angeles to Shanghai, Chicago O’Hare to Beijing and Shanghai, New York Newark to Beijing and Shanghai, and Washington Dulles to Beijing. Altogether United now operates 66 weekly flights between the US and China. For Hangzhou Airport, which handled 28.4 million passengers in 2015, this is the first non-stop service to any US airport.