Two airports have added new carriers to their lineup, despite the struggling economy.
The open-skies agreement between Australia and the U.S. a year ago has brought V Australia to Los Angeles International (LAX).
The new boutique, long-haul airline operates trans-Pacific services under the Virgin Blue Group banner and offers direct flights between Los Angeles, Calif., and Sydney, Australia.
“This is a unique moment in Virgin’s history and we, as a global airline group of airlines, are very excited to be able to provide travelers with the option of flying all around the world using Virgin airlines that all represent the same value for money, fun and commitment to service and innovation,” says Sir Richard Branson, chief executive officer of Virgin Group.
The flights will be on a newly delivered Boeing 777-300ER (extended range) aircraft. Onboard will be a three-class cabin, including a women-only bathroom, two in-flight bars, fully lie-back beds in business class and entertainment on every seat-back.
The service is expected to bring in about $872M to the Southern California economy and sustain up to 4,340 jobs.
At George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Cathay Pacific Cargo has launched a thrice-weekly, all-cargo service from Houston to Hong Kong.
“Especially during a tough economy, we appreciate this new growth at Bush Intercontinental,” says Rick Vacar, director of aviation for the Houston Airport System. “We realize this is a bold move by Cathay Pacific Cargo in this economic environment, and it demonstrates the strength of Houston as an outstanding cargo market within the Americas.”
The Cathay Pacific route will move the freighter from Hong Kong-Anchorage-Miami-Houston-Anchorage-Hong Kong. Cargo loaded in Houston will include the region’s top export items, such as oil and gas equipment, industrial machinery and high-tech components. Shippers will then distribute the freight through Hong Kong to Houston’s key trading partners in Singapore, Japan, India, China and Australia.
“We are bringing a very strong suite of cargo products to the local marketplace,” says Scott Mowrer, senior vice president, Americas, for Cathay Pacific Airways. “Coupled with the strength of our Hong Kong hub and extensive route network throughout Asia, we’re going to be a pretty compelling option for shippers throughout the greater Houston area.”