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United Airlines to add international routes from San Francisco

A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER plane is towed at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/Files

(Reuters) - United Continental Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it would add flights to New Delhi, Toronto and Melbourne from San Francisco, as the No. 3 U.S. airline looks to tap higher-paying international routes.

The airline also plans to start a second daily flight between San Francisco and Seoul as well as new year-round nonstop flights between the U.S. city and Auckland, Tahiti and Amsterdam in 2019.

All routes are, however, subject to government approvals, the company said.

“This route expansion solidifies United’s position at San Francisco as the gateway airline serving destinations across the Pacific, the continental United States, as well as to Europe and beyond,” Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz said.

Including the new planned routes, United will fly to 29 international destinations from its San Francisco hub.

The airline recently added new daily routes to Europe from other hubs such as Denver to attract business travelers.

In January, United forecast to increase capacity by between 4 percent and 6 percent in 2018. In the third quarter, the airline grew capacity by 5.1 percent.

United’s larger rivals American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are also adding flights to Europe next year, even as they had scaled back 2018 growth plans to preserve passenger fares.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli