MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) and Virgin Australia Group (VA) announced a new agreement that improves connectivity between Australia and the Americas. The partnership is expected to go into effect in early 2022, pending government approval.

MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members will gain access to more one-stop connections to cities across the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as a result of this alliance.

United Airlines states via a press release that it has long considered Australia to be an important part of its network. The Chicago-based carrier was the only airline to maintain passenger service between the United States and Australia throughout the epidemic.

In addition, the airline has more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier, and the Virgin Australia Group’s extensive network has now been added to its offering.

United now operates daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with more services, such as flights from Houston and direct flights to Melbourne, set to restart later in 2022. UA customers will now have access to key Australian locations such as Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide as a result of this new alliance.

Further, VA’s reach into the United States will be tripled as a result of the alliance, with customers able to connect to UA’s domestic and international network via its several Australian gateways.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 VH-YFL. Photo: Noah Pitkin/Airways

Comments from United Airlines, Virgin Australia Group CEOs

“The United States and Australia share a special bond and I’m especially proud that United was the only airline to maintain a vital link between these two countries throughout the pandemic,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. 

“Looking ahead, Virgin Australia is the perfect partner for United. Our partnership provides considerable commercial value for both airlines and a shared commitment to offer the best travel experience for our customers.”

“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United,” said Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka. 

“They have proudly been one of Australia’s most loyal and long-serving aviation partners and their market strength both to Australia and in the United States brings great value to our guests. We look forward to innovating together on behalf of our guests to ensure they have the very best travel experiences to over 90 destinations in the U.S.”

Featured image: United Airlines N206UA BOEING 777-222(ER). Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways