United Airlines plans to launch 6X-weekly Los Angeles (LAX)-Melbourne (MEL) flights from Oct. 26, 2014, using a Boeing 787-9.
United will be the first North American airline to take delivery of the 787-9 and Melbourne will be the first international destination on which it will use the -9, which is currently being flight tested by Boeing. The route, which will be operated to MEL every day except Tuesday and to LAX every day except Thursday, is subject to government approval.
“We are excited about using the newest version of the Dreamliner, the 787-9, to provide nonstop transpacific service to Melbourne,” United vice chairman and chief revenue officer Jim Compton said in a statement.
Flying time will be approximately 15 hours and 45 minutes westbound to Melbourne and 14 hours and 35 minutes eastbound to Los Angeles. “United has timed the new flights to conveniently connect at Los Angeles with an extensive network of service throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America,” the airline said, adding that United passengers in 37 US cities will able to reach the Australian city in one-stop via LAX.
The 787-9 operating the LAX-MEL service will be configured with 252 seats: 48 business/first class seats and 204 economy seats, including 63 premium economy seats.
Air New Zealand is slated to take delivery of the first 787-9 mid-year. United currently has nine 787-8s in its fleet. It expects to receive three more -8s this year as well as its first two 787-9s.