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The first United Airlines plane connecting Malaga with New York lands this Thursday morning, 1 June. Salvador Salas

First United Airlines flight linking New York to Costa del Sol touches down at Malaga Airport

The arrival this Thursday morning kicks off a summer of direct flights on the route, with connections operating three times a week until 28 September

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Thursday, 1 June 2023, 10:05

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The first direct flight between New York and Malaga Airport in four years touched down on the Costa del Sol this Thursday morning, 1 June.

The United Airlines aircraft left Newark Airport on Wednesday, 31 May about 5.55pm New York time, and landed in Malaga at 7.25am.

It is the first direct flight between Malaga and the Big Apple after the suspension of the route by Delta Airlines in 2019, and kicks off four months of direct flights between the two cities, where connections will operate three times a week.

United's Boeing 757-200 had 169 full seats, sixteen of them in its famed Polaris class and celebrated the first flight with a ribbon cutting in terminal C of Newark Airport. Passengers were then greeted to a warm reception at the arrival gates after it touched down in Malaga a few minutes ahead of schedule.

The new flight will operate three days a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, until 28 September. The first plane from Malaga to New York will leave tomorrow, 2 June, at 9.40am. The American airline will offer more than 17,000 seats in both directions, and has scheduled 52 return flights.

The route is also expected to spark a tourism boom across Andalucía. A recent Turismo Costa del Sol Tourism report on the United States pointed out that last year Malaga hotels and tourist apartments received 146,905 American travellers, making it the eighth most important international market for the province. It amounted to 405,347 overnight stays, just 11 and 13% less than before the pandemic.

Nights booked by Americans last year represented 30.6% of the total number of nights booked in Andalucía and 5.1% of the total in Spain. In the first three months of 2023, American travellers staying in the province and overnight stays are already at 26.1% and 23.5%, respectively, above the levels reached in the same period in 2019.

Re-elected mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, said talks of extending the connection with New York beyond summer are progressing and that he will hold a meeting with company officials to promote Malaga as an all-year-round destination.

"We do not want to be exclusive, but this route is useful to not only Malaga city, but to the coast, to the province of Malaga, to Granada, Cordoba, in Seville, it is at the service of the rest of Andalucía," he said.

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