Qantas is set to grow its network in the United States, with the national carrier 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 announcement 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, giving Qantas customers access to 30 additional unique one-stop destinations from Australia. With the added gateway, Qantas customers will be able to connect to more than 200 onward destinations from Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The direct service from Brisbane will save customers flying between Australia and Chicago more than six hours of travel time on a return trip.

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 CEO 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 Mr 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.

“I’d like to acknowledge the support of the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation and Tourism Australia for helping to make these new Dreamliner routes a step closer to reality, and we will work together on joint marketing to showcase the State and boost tourism,” added Mr Joyce.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new routes would pump more than $150 million into the Queensland economy over the next three years.

“As the world’s largest economy, the United States offers enormous potential for inbound tourism to Queensland,” the Premier said.

“The launch of flights to San Francisco, and for the first time in the Qantas network Chicago as a gateway to the Midwest and east coast, represents a great opportunity for Queensland, one that is forecast to support more than 1,700 jobs over the next three years.”

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 Loungeby 25 percent this year in response to the popularity of flights from Brisbane.

‘LONGREACH’ ORIGINS HONOURED

As a tribute to the airline’s Queensland roots, Qantas also confirmed today that one of its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft to be delivered later this year will be named Longreach.

“As we count down to our centenary and retire our extended range 747 aircraft, which all feature the iconic Longreach name, we’re proud to continue its legacy on one of our new 787s.  Queensland is a pivotal part of our history and an important part of our identity,” said Mr Joyce.

Brisbane – Chicago

  • The 14,326km flight will take approximately 16 hours 20 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds)
  • When it launches, it is expected to 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), which has the highest customer satisfaction rating on our network
  • As well as a commerce hub, Chicago is renowned as a sporting and arts capital.

Brisbane – San Francisco

  • The 11,367km flight will take approximately 12 hours 40 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds)
  • 14 flights per week from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to San Francisco
  • San Francisco is known for its eclectic mix of architecture, food and centre for innovation and business start ups.
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