Qantas returns to San Francisco
Qantas and American Airlines today announced a significant expansion of their longstanding relationship, which will see the US carrier fly from Los Angeles to Sydney for the first time and Qantas return to San Francisco.
Subject to approval from regulators, this expansion represents a natural evolution of the existing alliance between Qantas and American, providing the airlines with a platform for further growth, closer commercial ties, and an even more seamless customer experience on routes between North America and Australia/New Zealand.
As part of the changes, the four year old Qantas and American Airlines joint venture will shift to a Route revenue share agreement. Qantas will return to the Sydney-San Francisco route – currently the most popular onward destination for corporate customers that it doesn’t already serve directly on its network -– from 20 December 2015. Services will initially operate on peak days^ and ramp up to six per week in January 2016 using its newer Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the same style interiors found on the airline’s A380s.
Qantas’ flights to San Francisco are made possible by American Airlines starting a direct daily Sydney to Los Angeles service from 19 December 2015. This will replace four Qantas’ B747 Sydney to Los Angeles services per week and one Qantas B747 Melbourne to Los Angeles service per week.
American Airlines’ Trans-Pacific flights will be operated by its new B777-300ER featuring lie-flat seats in First and Business. Qantas will retain its daily A380 Sydney to Los Angeles and Melbourne to Los Angeles services, as well as its B747 Brisbane-Los Angeles flights, and the airlines will codeshare on each other’s services.
The enhanced relationship also provides opportunities for future growth into trans-Pacific markets not currently served by either airline, such as New Zealand.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said the expanded relationship was good news for travelers, the local tourism industry and the corporate market.
“American Airlines is one of our most important alliance partners, and this deal strengthens the long-standing ties between us to provide a platform for future growth across the Pacific. At its heart, this is about delivering an enhanced network and better service for customers of both airlines well into the future,” said Mr Joyce.
“Together with American, we can offer direct flights and unrivalled frequencies from Australia to Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth, seasonal services to Vancouver and one stop services to JFK via LAX. We also offer coordinated schedules that allow seamless travel within the United States and Australia.
“San Francisco is now the most popular onward destination for Qantas’ customers travelling to the U.S. and we’re thrilled to be going back. We know there is a strong demand for direct flights, particularly from our corporate clients who will save about four hours each way by not having to connect through LAX.