United Airlines announced a new year-round nonstop route between San Francisco, California, and Brisbane, Australia beginning this October. From Brisbane, travelers will have the chance to connect to nearly 20 additional cities within Australia thanks to the newly formed partnership between United and Virgin Australia.

United was the only airline to maintain service between the US and Australia throughout the pandemic and with the addition of this new route, becomes the first American airline to add a transpacific route to its network since COVID-19 paralyzed the travel industry in 2020.

“With United’s strong history in Australia – and now with a great partner in Virgin Australia – it’s the ideal time for United to expand service to Brisbane as demand for travel continues to grow,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of International Network and Alliances for United. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve looked for strategic ways to grow our international network, and we’re proud to be the first U.S. airline to put a new dot on our route map across the Pacific.”

The new Brisbane route will operate three times weekly on a 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. It will join the already existing direct flight options from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles and San Francisco. This continues United’s long-standing history with Australia since it was the first US air carrier to service the country starting back in 1986.