Qantas announced late Thursday that it will use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners to open a non-stop route between San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia.
The Australian carrier did not give a start date, saying only that it anticipated the San Francisco-Melbourne flights to start “by late 2018.” Ticket sales would begin in “early 2018." The Melbourne route will compliment Qantas' existing San Francisco service to Sydney, which the airlines flies with Boeing 747s.
Qantas revealed its newest San Francisco plans as it gets set to put its new 787s into international service for the first time Friday. That's when the airline begins deploying the planes on its route between Los Angeles and Melbourne.
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Qantas’ 236-seat Dreamliners will fly six days a week on the 14-hour L.A.-Melbourne service. Those flights will be in addition to the carrier’s existing daily service between the cities on its 484-seat Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger aircraft.
In a statement, Alison Webster – Qantas' chief executive overseeing international service – said the company has observed “strong demand from San Francisco, both from a tourism perspective and because of the business links between Silicon Valley and Melbourne.”
She also added that “a significant number of our Melbourne passengers flying to Los Angeles already connect on to San Francisco.”
Though Qantas went public with its intention to add San Francisco-Melbourne non-stops, its schedule plans remain vague. Noting that it will now be flying 13 flights a day between Melbourne and L.A., the airline said that “capacity between the U.S. and Melbourne will be rebalanced to match demand for the two Californian cities.” That, Qantas added, means “the Dreamliner will fly from Los Angeles some days of the week and San Francisco other days.”
Put more simply, it sounds as though Qantas intends to shift its new L.A-Melbourne service to San Francisco for at least several of the six days it’s currently scheduled to fly.
As for Qantas’ Dreamliners, the airline took delivery of its first 787-9 in October.
Qantas’ versions of the jet seat 42 in lie-flat business-class seats, 28 in international-style premium economy and 166 in coach.
So far, Qantas has taken delivery of two Boeing 787-9s, which it is now using for the Los Angeles flights. The next two 787s coming to the airline will be used to launch Qantas’ upcoming service between Perth, Australia, and London Heathrow. That will be the first-ever regularly scheduled airline flight to fly non-stop between Australia and Europe.
Once its fifth and sixth Dreamliners are delivered to the company, Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce has previously indicated the carrier would fly them between Brisbane, Australia, and Los Angeles with continuing service to New York.
Qantas expects all eight of the 787s it has on order to be delivered by the end of next year.