Browsing Tag: 787 Dreamliner

Time to talk about a part of the world we don’t get to write about often: Africa! European and Asian airlines handle the lion’s share of the continent’s long-haul air traffic. But recently we’ve seen Africa’s own carriers make impressive strides. Royal Air Maroc is using its Dreamliner fleet to operate long thin routes to multiple continents. Kenya Airways recently inaugurated direct service to New York. South African Airlines may be dealing with financial struggles, but remains a juggernaut of the region.

Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ET-AOQ) taken in July 2012 by Moonm.

Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ET-AOQ) taken in July 2012 by Moonm

But among the large African carriers, arguably none had a year as big last year as Ethiopian Airlines. Its fleet has been growing by leaps and bounds, and includes fresh faces like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350. The airline has been launching new long-haul routes to destinations like Manchester and Chicago, and this just week it announced it’s bumping up frequencies to Washington DC and Chicago and adding service to Houston, though it’s cutting its LAX route. Despite the airline’s growth and transformation, it’s continued to do well in ratings (at least those from sites like Skytrax) and in showcasing the culture and food of its home country.

Read on for an update on Ethiopian Airlines’ major expansion and why the airline is relevant to you, even if you live in the US.

Fun times at the gate for the launch of United’s daily, direct service to London Heathrow (LHR) on a 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Kevin P Horn

United Airlines has been aggressively expanding its Denver hub over the last few years. Despite operating 471 flights a day and carrying 42% of traffic, the international routes have been limited to a few flights in Canada, a few south of the border, and the daily Dreamliner to Tokyo. Starting on March 24th, United re-launched, after a hiatus of a few years, seasonal, daily service to London Heathrow on a 787-8 as UA 27 and UA 26.

We were there for the inaugural flight and celebration for this exciting new route. This flight makes for three carriers serving London at once, with Denver’s biggest airline continuing expansion at the airport.

Getting ready for some long-haul flying, a 787-8 is at the gate with a 777-200 domestic in the background.

Domestic aviation in the western United States is a different operation than the population-dense East Coast. With major cities often 1,000 miles apart, often the only way to get between them in less than a day is to fly. Over the years, air traffic to the three largest Mountain West cities – Denver, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City – has increased significantly as the importance of these markets has elevated through sustained and continued growth.

United Airlines has been a dominant force in Denver for many years, with an 80-year history that reaches back into the early years of commercial aviation. It is currently, and by a wide margin, the largest carrier in Denver by passenger enplanements, flights, and revenue.

United’s focus on Denver is no accident; the airport is its most profitable hub, a key part of its route network, and is a focus for continued growth within the airline. As a frequent traveler based in Colorado, I’ve wanted to explore and learn about how United Airlines uses its position in Denver to get people to their destinations, nationwide.

This is the first part of a two-part feature on United Airlines’ operations at Denver International Airport. The second part will cover United’s inaugural 787-8 Dreamliner service to London Heathrow as an example of how United is expanding the reach and prominence of Denver within its network.