One of the world’s biggest airlines is gearing up to restart and grow direct services between Melbourne and San Francisco, providing more opportunities than ever for businesses to expand their operations in Melbourne’s thriving multi-sector ecosystem.

United Airlines plane approaches runway

Major US carrier United Airlines will restart and boost direct flights between San Francisco in 2022 to a daily service that caters for 200,000 passengers each year, providing non-stop travel for US businesses with existing offices in Melbourne and for those looking to establish a base in Australia’s fastest-growing city.

Melbourne’s strong business environment, available market opportunities, talent pool, and transport and research capabilities - as well as a globally-recognised liveability - have made it a leading destination for US investors looking for new global opportunities and development expertise.

The non-stop service will also strengthen connections between San Francisco and Melbourne’s world-leading tech sector, which provides advanced research and development capabilities and skills to US-based tech companies such as Zendesk, Square, Splunk and Eventbrite.

San Francisco United Airlines’ primary hub for flights to Asia and Australia, and a base from which the airline will service the only direct Melbourne - San Francisco route. Direct flights will operate three times a week from June before increasing to a daily service by December.

“The fact that we retained a daily passenger service to Australia throughout the lowest points of the pandemic shows our commitment Australia,” said United Airlines Senior Vice President of International Network and Alliances Patrick Quayle “We are thrilled to resume our San Francisco to Melbourne service and see a bright future ahead for United, for Melbourne and for US-Australia travel.”

United joins a growing list of major airlines expanding their international offering from Melbourne including Emirates, Etihad, Bamboo Airways and Qantas – which recently announced a new direct route from Dallas Fort Worth and expanded services from Los Angeles. United Airlines' non-stop services to Melbourne are expected to deliver an additional 570 jobs and a $54 million boost to the state’s economy.

“We’re backing more direct international flights to Melbourne because we know the critical role they play in supporting Victorian businesses and creating jobs,” said Minister for Industry Support and Recovery and Minister for Trade Martin Pakula.

“Having more direct flights to Victoria means it is even easier for visitors to come here and enjoy everything we are famous for – whether that’s our major sporting events, food scene or cultural institutions.”

“We are thrilled to be welcoming United back. This is a huge vote of confidence in Melbourne because United’s global footprint means it has a wide choice of potential cities to serve, and our proposition clearly stood out,” said Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Lorie Argus.

The US is Victoria’s second-largest trading partner, with two-way goods trade valued at $13 billion in 2021, and its economy has provided Victorian businesses and innovators with significant export opportunities.

Find out why Melbourne continues to attract visitors and global investors, and learn more about investment opportunities in the areas such as technology, fintechagtechbiotechmedtech and the digital games sectors.