From the Golden Gate to the Sunshine State

Inaugural United Airlines flight lands in Brisbane


30 October 2022: History has been made with the arrival of the first scheduled non-stop passenger service by an American carrier from the US mainland to Queensland. 

United Airlines Flight UA96 from San Francisco to Brisbane touched down at 0625 this morning, echoing one of the most important flights in our aviation history. 

“In 1928, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew became the first to fly across the Pacific from San Francisco to Brisbane. 94 years later, the route they pioneered will now deliver thousands of tourists to Queensland,” according to Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff. 

“That first pioneering journey took 83 hours and 38 minutes. Now it’s a 13 hour 45 minute flight. And the historic Southern Cross aircraft sits opposite our International Terminal where United Airlines docked this morning.” 
The United Airlines San Francisco to Brisbane service was the first to be funded under Queensland’s $200m Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, designed to supercharge the return of the $6 billion international visitor economy. 

“United Airlines from San Francisco alone is predicted to contribute $27 million to the State’s visitor economy and an extra 40,000 inbound seats, supporting 260 good Queensland jobs,” according to Queensland’s Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. 

United Airlines will fly between San Francisco and Brisbane three times per week using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The airline is one of the world’s largest, with a connection hub at San Francisco flying to more than 80 North American cities, offering easy passenger flows into the Queensland market. 

“We are delighted to work with the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation to launch new non-stop flights between Brisbane and San Francisco - becoming the first U.S. airline to add a new transpacific destination to its global network since the start of the pandemic,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of global network planning and alliances at United. “United has a long history in Australia, and with our new partnership with Virgin Australia, now is the ideal time to expand our service and offer additional convenient flight options to our customers on both sides of the Pacific." 

United’s Milage Plus loyalty program boasts over 100 million members, which gives it unrivalled market reach and insight of the US travelling public. With the airline now partnered with Virgin Australia, the domestic carrier will be able to deliver US tourists into 10 Queensland cities. And with Brisbane Airport Australia’s most connected domestic hub, US passengers can connect to 53 locations around Australia. 

In attendance for the arrival of the inaugural flight was U.S. Consul General, Christine Elder. 
“We hope to see as many Americans visiting Australia as possible, and for Australians to come and explore everything the U.S. has to offer. These new flights will make it easier for thousands of people to travel between our countries. The flights will also have a big economic benefit. We know that American tourists are among the biggest spenders to Queensland and that U.S. businesses are the largest investors in Australia. There are endless possibilities for connections between the United States and Australia that this new United Airlines route will help facilitate.” 

BNE is the only Queensland airport with scheduled services with the United States, providing a gateway for the critical tourism market. 

Flights will arrive in Brisbane from San Francisco every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, with return flights departing mid-morning. 

Pictures of the arrival into BNE available now for download.