United – Houston-Sydney
United is starting off 2018 with a bang, launching the second-longest non-stop route in its network on January 18 between Houston and Sydney (its longest, between Los Angeles and Singapore, launched in October). The route will be Australia’s sole non-stop connection to the Texan city, and will be operated by United’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – note that these feature United’s older business class cabins, with 48 fully flat seats in a 2-2-2 layout, and not the new Polaris seats currently available on the B777-300ER.
Hong Kong Airlines – Hong Kong-San Francisco
Hong Kong Airlines’ North American expansion is in full swing, and with the launch of its new Airbus A350 flights to Los Angeles last month (Business Traveller was onboard the inaugural flight, click here for a first look) the airline is next set to fly to San Francisco starting March 25 this year. The A350 is due to take on this route as well and will fly between the two cities four times a week.
Air France – Paris-Taipei
It’s been almost two decades since Air France served the Taiwan capital, but from April 16 onwards the carrier will be reviving its non-stop flights between Paris and Taipei. Set to fly three times a week, the service will be flown with the airline’s Boeing 777-200 outfitted with Air France’s newest cabins, which in business class offers fully flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Asiana Airlines – Seoul-Venice
Korean carrier Asiana Airlines has flown occasional charter flights to Venice since 2014, however on May 1 this year the route is set to become a permanent scheduled addition to its network. Flying three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, the service will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 777-200, featuring its newer, fully flat Business Smartium seat products. The Venice service will then be followed by a four-times-weekly service to Barcelona, which will take off on August 30.
LOT Polish Airlines – Warsaw-Singapore
Singapore will be getting its first non-stop connection to Poland on May 15 with LOT Polish Airlines set to fly to the Lion City from Warsaw, initially three times a week with a fourth weekly flight set to take off in July. Asia along with North America has been a focus for the Polish carrier, and this new route will be its first Southeast Asia air link. Travellers will fly on the airline’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which has business, premium economy and economy class seating.
Cathay Pacific – Hong Kong-Washington DC
September 15 will see the launch of Cathay Pacific’s longest route in its network – a 13,122-kilometre, 17-hour non-stop flight between Hong Kong and the US capital. Notably, the four-times-weekly route will be one of the first to see the airline’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, the first of which Cathay Pacific is set to receive this spring. The service will add to the Hong Kong carrier’s current services to the US East Coast, including Boston and New York.
Qantas – Melbourne-San Francisco
Much has been made of Qantas’s relaunch of its “Kangaroo Route” that will directly link Perth and London, set to take off on March 25 this year, but this isn’t the only interesting route Australia’s flag carrier is launching in 2018. Following the beginning of its Melbourne-Los Angeles service last month, Qantas will begin flying between the Victorian capital and San Francisco late this year. An exact start date as well as frequency have yet to be announced for the route – it appears the airline will be taking some of its Los Angeles frequency and passing it over to the San Francisco service – but Qantas has confirmed the flights will be flown using its newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which has an all-new cabin products.
Which new routes are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments section below.