United Airlines’ average passenger load for flights between Taipei and San Francisco has reached nearly 90 percent since the airline resumed the direct service in 2014, the Chicago-based carrier said on Tuesday.
The airline began offering direct flights from Taipei to San Francisco in 1986, but suspended them in 2003 due to the SARS epidemic.
After restarting the flights in 2007, they were suspended again in 2008 due to the global financial crisis.
In March 2014, an increase in tourist and business travelers between Taiwan and the US prompted their reinstatement, the airline said.
The load factor for the year to July was 88.9 percent, while from 2014 to July it was 88.2 percent, company data showed.
The airline offers one flight per day from Taipei to San Francisco.
United Airlines managing director for greater China and Korea Walter Dias told a news conference in Taipei that to cater for an increase in passengers, the airline in April switched from Boeing 787-9s to Boeing 777-300ERs for the route, with the 777s having seats for 350 passengers.
It would increase the number of daily flights to San Francisco or launch direct services to other US cities depending on demand, Dias said.
The airline’s ConnectionSaver technology automatically analyzes flight data for customers who have tight connecting flights to determine whether a flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers, Dias said.
It would also send personalized text messages with clear directions on how to get to the gate for a connecting flight and information about how long it would take to walk from gate to gate, he said.
The Island-Hopping tour from Hawaii to Guam that United Airlines inherited from Continental Airlines after a merger in 2012 has seven stops, he said.
It is the last frontier of tourism, as each of the islands welcomes 4,000 to 5,000 tourists per year, he said.
The biggest attractions are diving and surfing, Dias said.
The islands were part of the US trust territories following World War II, Dias said, adding that in 1968, Continental was granted a contract by the US government to operate the route.
The airline has upgraded other services, United Airlines sales general manager for Taiwan Brenda Tang (唐靜儀) said.
Mileage accumulated by passengers from Aug. 28 will never expire, Tang said.