United expands its leisure focus with new Hawaii routes

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Hamo Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui, one of two destinations that United will serve from the East Cost starting next spring.
Hamo Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui, one of two destinations that United will serve from the East Cost starting next spring.

United will launch summer 2021 service from Newark to Maui and from Chicago O'Hare to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The route to Maui will be the first offered there from the East Coast by any airline, said Patrick Quayle, United's senior vice president of international network and alliances. Similarly, the Kona route will be the first offered to that island from east of the Mississippi. Each service will operate four times weekly.

United previously said it was planning to increase its service to Hawaii and other destinations this month as it ramped up following cutbacks made earlier in the pandemic.

The two Hawaii routes were among a combined seven new domestic and international services United announced Wednesday as it recalibrates its network to focus more on leisure traffic and the family-and-friends-travel market rather than the largely dormant business market. 

"We are really focused on rethinking the network. We aren't just looking at building everything back the way it was before the coronavirus," Quayle said.

United also said it will add five new international routes. Three will serve Africa, and two will serve India.

It plans to fly three-times weekly between Washington Dulles and Accra, Ghana, as well as thrice weekly between Dulles and Lagos, Nigeria, beginning next spring. Daily Newark-Johannesburg service will also begin in the spring.

United, which is the only U.S. carrier currently serving India, will launch daily O'Hare-New Delhi service in December. That route will complement the carrier's existing New Delhi flights from Newark and Dulles.  United will also connect the tech hubs of San Francisco and Bangalore on a daily basis starting next spring. Quayle said that service will be the first between the U.S and Bangalore, beating out the launch of American's planned Seattle-Bangalore service.

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