Published on : Friday, December 18, 2015
Qantas Flight 73 will depart from Sydney to San Francisco this afternoon, marking the Flying Kangaroo’s return to the popular route, followed by the departure of American Airlines Flight 72 from Sydney to Los Angeles tomorrow morning.
The new services have been made possible by an expanded commercial partnership* between national carrier Qantas and American, the world’s biggest airline, and form part of a broader trans-Pacific network spanning Australian, New Zealand and the United States.
It comes as a lower dollar improves the competitiveness of Australia as a destination for U.S. travellers. In the year to the end of September 2015, a record 551,000 Americans visited Australia, up eight per cent on the prior year.
Together, the airlines will offer customers 50 return services per week between Australia and the US, including Honolulu. From Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and San Francisco customers flying from Australia can access more than 150 destinations throughout North America on American Airline’s extensive network. From Sydney alone, customers can access more than 70 Qantas Group destinations across Australia and New Zealand.
“This is a new era for both airlines and we’re excited to be unlocking new travel options for our customers and helping to build trade, tourism and investment opportunities for the Australian and US economies,” said Mr Joyce.
“We can’t wait to return to San Francisco, which was Qantas’ first ever US destination back in the 1950s and is still a hugely popular holiday spot for Australians. What’s different today is that we’re also seeing really strong demand for business travel, driven by the Silicon Valley technology boom.
“These new services are a good news story for Australian tourism, with American Airlines now promoting brand Australia across its massive domestic network. When you put that together with Qantas’ significant investment in tourism marketing, it’s a potent combination.
“Passengers who flew with Qantas International spent $9.5 billion in Australia last financial year, helping make it the best year for inbound tourism since the Sydney Olympics. We’re confident we can lift that contribution even higher as we deepen our partnerships, especially with the tailwind that a lower Aussie dollar provides to our attractiveness to visitors,” added Mr Joyce.
Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, said: “Qantas has been a fantastic partner through oneworld and our joint business relationship, and we are delighted that customers are seeing enhanced benefits of this partnership through a greater choice of flights to the U.S.”
“With this new Qantas service to San Francisco and American’s new daily service to Los Angeles, customers are the clear winners when travelling with our two great airlines.”
Qantas’ Sydney-San Francisco services will ramp up to six per week in January 2016, with all flights to be operated by Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the same interiors that feature on the airline’s flagship A380s. American’s flagship B777-300ER will operate daily on the Sydney-Los Angeles route with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business Class and international Wi-Fi.
To celebrate the launch of Qantas’ new Sydney to San Francisco services, customers on-board QF73 will be treated to a special figure eight flyover of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay area, before touching down at San Francisco Airport which will be lit up with Qantas colours during the evening.
American’s B777-300 ER service from Los Angeles into Sydney on Saturday will be given a water cannon salute and customers on the first flight out of Australia will enjoy cupcakes and champagne at the gate as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony.