United Airlines will be the first American airline to launch a new transpacific destination since the outbreak began.
On Wednesday, the Chicago-based airline was expected to unveil plans for a new 7,063-mile nonstop flight connecting its San Francisco (SFO) hub with Brisbane, Australia (BNE).
The route will begin service on Oct. 28 and run three times a week all year.
United had been promoting the new route on social media, with flashy countdown clocks teasing a Wednesday announcement at 8 a.m. ET.
The new service was announced by airport and regional authorities in Australia on Tuesday evening U.S. time, and information of the new route broke early.
United's arrival, according to Gert-Jan de Graaff, is "a gamechanger for the tourism business," as it will significantly increase international capacity into the Australian state of Queensland.