United Airlines will dramatically expand its service between Fresno and San Francisco in August, using a much larger aircraft for its early-morning flight.
The airline said it will launch its new service using a 146-seat Boeing 737-800 jet. The flight will be a regular United Airlines flight, and will be in addition to the three daily United Express flights to San Francisco that are operated by SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest uses 50- and 70-seat Bombardier regional jets for its service between Fresno Yosemite International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
The daily flight on the 737 jet is scheduled for a 6 a.m. departure from Fresno to arrive in San Francisco just after 7 a.m. Under the current United Express schedule, the earliest flight leaves Fresno at 6:30 for arrival at about 7:30 a.m. Flights aboard the bigger jet will be used for a late-night arrival in Fresno.
The mainline United jets will nearly double the number of seats offered daily under either the United or United Express brand.
In early 2015, SkyWest flew 32 flights a week from Fresno to San Francisco aboard older 30-seat turbopropo airplanes. When SkyWest converted its fleet to the regional jets, the number of flights dropped to three per day, but the net number of available seats grew because the airline used larger airplanes.
The additional Fresno-San Francisco flight was part of a larger announcement Monday by United of expanded service to San Francisco from 18 cities across the U.S.