North American airline United Airlines has announced new flight routes to Spanish destinations not previously covered by any other American airlines.
United will now fly from New York (Newark) to Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and Tenerife in the Canary Islands as part of a broader transatlantic expansion that includes Portugal and Norway.
It is hoped the new flight routes will increase American tourism in the Spanish island destinations, with estimates pointing to tens of thousands of American visitors to the two archipelagos in 2022.
Likewise, people living in the Canaries and the Balearics will be able to enjoy direct flights to the Big Apple without having to fly to mainland Spain. Until now, most flights from the US to Spain have been to either Madrid or Barcelona.
Here’s a closer look at the routes, prices and the reasons why these flights will soon be launched.
Palma de Mallorca
The popular Balearic beach getaway will now be covered by three weekly flights between New York/Newark and Palma de Mallorca, with the new route operational from June 2022.
This will be the only route between the US and Mallorca and joins longstanding routes to Madrid and Barcelona. It is hoped it will attract as many as 10,000 American travellers to Mallorca by the end of 2022.
There are connecting flights and ferries between Mallorca and mainland Spain, as well as with the other Balearic Islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
American travellers can now also enjoy Spain’s Canary Islands with United’s new direct route from New York/Newark to Tenerife South Reina Sofía airport.
As with their new flights to Mallorca, the expansion makes United the only American airline to fly direct between the Canary Islands and North America, and from June 2022 three weekly flights will also be available.
There are plenty of flights connecting Tenerife and mainland Spain (two to three hours long as the archipelago is far away), as well as flights and ferries to the other Canaries: Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
The New York-Tenerife route will start in June with a promotional offer of €348 for a round trip ticket, according to the United Airlines sales team in Spain, but as the route ramps up flights throughout June it seems there are some tickets early in the month for around $800 (€755), but later in the summer season prices crack $1000 (€944) for the Newark-Tenerife round trip .
To Mallorca, average prices are believed to be around €519, one way, but vary between single and round trips, and on the class of cabin. It is believed first class tickets will be sold for around €5,000 for a round trip, and according to the United website basic economy flights throughout the summer season start from around $1,300 (€1288).
According to the United Airlines website, flights from Palma de Mallorca to Newark start from €424.
Change of model
As The Local has reported recently, the expansion comes amid broader expansion not only on the part of United, but also a recalibration of the Spanish islands tourism model and a move away from cheaper, alcohol-based tourism to a more upmarket, sustainable model. Director of Tourism of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Laura Castro, explained that “our strategy of diversification of markets in the case of the North American profile will allow us to attract travellers with medium-high purchasing power, for which the island has high standard infrastructures that live up to their expectations.”
In addition to the promotional offers and pivot away from the traditional booze holiday destination image, the Fundació Mallorca Turisme is to invite American journalists and travel agencies from the states closest to Newark airport on ‘familiarisation trips’ in order for them to better be able to advertise Mallorca.
Similarly, Mallorca’s tourism bosses will also run a series of ‘roads shows’ in the U.S. to educate and entice American travel agents working on the east coast “to achieve greater visibility of this important initiative in the main urban enclaves.”
Mallorca as a hub airport
Anyone who has come across Americans ‘going to Europe’ knows they often make the most of the long journeys by exploring several countries or cities during one trip. Mallorca’s tourism bosses certainly hope so, and are intending for the island’s Sant Joan airport to become a ‘hub’ airport that will enable American travellers to arrive in Europe and use the island as a pitstop en-route to other European destinations.
Minister for Tourism, Andreu Serra, believes this could be beneficial to Mallorca “because when the American tourist travels to Europe [they] usually travel to other cities, which is why they will come to Palma and from here they can travel to Rome, Paris, Berlin and London to extend their stay in Europe.”