United has announced a new nonstop route between Houston and Sydney, launching on January 18, 2018.

The daily B787-9 service will be the carrier’s second longest nonstop route (at 8,596 miles) after LA-Singapore (which launches next month).

It will also be the only nonstop service between Houston and Australia. United currently operates flights to Sydney from the west coast cities of LA and San Francisco.

Flight UA101 will depart Houston at 2000, landing into Sydney at 0630 (two days later), with the return leg UA100 leaving the Australian city at 1150 and landing back into Houston at 1035 (the same day).

Flights will be operated by United’s B787-9 aircraft, configured with 48 fully-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout, 63 seats in Economy Plus, and 141 in economy.

The new route will compete with Qantas’ existing nonstop route between Sydney and the Texan city of Dallas, itself one of the world’s longest nonstop services – for a look at other contenders see:

Ten of the world’s longest flights

Commenting on the new service Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines said:

 “Our Houston hub is stronger than ever and it continues to be an absolutely vital part of our industry-leading network.

 “We are honoured to have served this vibrant city for nearly half a century, and this exciting intercontinental flight is one more way we are demonstrating United’s commitment to our customers who call Houston home as well as the millions of customers who connect through Houston each year.

“This new route will serve more than 70 cities across North America making one-stop service to Sydney faster and more convenient than ever before.”

The news comes as Houston’s airports gradually reopen for business, following last week’s Hurricane Harvey.