Skip to main content

San Francisco Airport: United Airlines resumes, expands routes to Asia

A plane hovers above an airport runway.
A United Airlines Boeing 777 takes off from San Francisco International Airport. | Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images | Source: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto/Getty Images

United Airlines plans to launch new service from San Francisco International Airport to four locations on its Asia Pacific routes—and bring back a paused route to China.

Flights to Beijing will resume on Nov. 9, a United Airlines spokesperson told The Standard. The spokesperson said the airline had also begun selling tickets for 12 weekly flights between SFO and Hong Kong.

The airline previously announced it would expand to daily flights from the airport to Shanghai on Oct. 1.

Since the Covid pandemic, air travel between the United States and China has been severely curtailed and has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels amid frigid relations between the two countries. The lack of flights has hampered the recovery of San Francisco's tourism sector, which previously saw high numbers of visitors from China.

"We are grateful for this positive step forward in U.S.-China passenger air services, and we thank the many officials from both countries who partnered to make this reinstatement of air service possible," United's senior vice president of global network planning and alliances, Patrick Quayle, said. 

The war in Ukraine has also affected U.S. routes to China from the East Coast, with many now requiring a stopover. That makes flights from the West Coast more attractive.

"This announcement is good news for United customers because we believe that a daily flight to Beijing and a daily flight to Shanghai from San Francisco is consistent with the demand we see in the market right now—especially since our ability to serve China nonstop from our mid-continent hubs or the East Coast is severely limited by Russian overflight restrictions."

The airline also plans to launch nonstop flights daily to Manila in the Philippines on Oct. 29 and three times a week to Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island on Dec. 8.

The news comes after Alaska Airlines recently announced it would slash routes from SFO. Southwest announced its own cuts from SFO in July.

George Kelly can be reached at