Qantas is set to grow its network in the United States after confirming it will fly directly from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco upon approval of its joint business with American Airlines from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
The new routes, to be operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, are expected to launch by the end of April 2020 and will add more than 170,000 seats across the Pacific each year.
The move follows the DOT’s tentative approval of the joint business between Qantas and American earlier this month. Seats are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks, pending final approval.
Directly linking Australia and the third-largest US city for the first time, Qantas would operate the flights four times per week between Brisbane and Chicago. The city is one of American Airlines’ major hubs.
The Brisbane to Chicago route is a 14,326km long flight and will take approximately 16 hours 20 minutes and when launched will be the fourth-longest passenger flight in the world. It will be the second longest flight on the Qantas network, closely behind Qantas’ Perth-London service (14,499km).
The new three-times-per-week Brisbane to San Francisco service will complement Qantas’ existing flights from Sydney and Melbourne – meaning customers could choose from double daily Dreamliner services from Australia’s east coast to San Francisco.
Qantas Group chief executive officer, Alan Joyce said the launch of 787 flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco would be a win for customers and tourism.
“This is fantastic news for Queensland. It demonstrates the confidence that we have in the local tourism industry and our commitment to the Sunshine State,” said Joyce.
“This will give Qantas and American Airlines customers unprecedented access. These flights will make it one stop from Chicago to Hamilton Island or San Francisco to Townsville.
“These new services will connect both Australian business travellers and holidaymakers with key centres of commerce, industry and culture in the United States.”
These new routes would see a total of 14 weekly services between Brisbane and the US, including the daily 787 Brisbane to Los Angeles service that continues to New York. Qantas expanded its International Brisbane Lounge by 25 per cent this year in response to the popularity of flights from Brisbane.