Qantas Beats Emirates to Dallas A380 Debut

Qantas launched flights between Sydney and Dallas in May 2011 and currently utilises a Boeing 747-400ER on the route. The additional range of the A380 over the 747 it replaces will see the return service operate direct to Sydney rather than via Brisbane.

Australian national carrier Qantas Airways will be the first global airline to launch scheduled operations with the Airbus A380 to the US city of Dallas after it revealed this week that it will deploy the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route between Sydney Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from September 29, 2014. This is just two days before Emirates Airline switches its daily flight to the Texan city to the Super Jumbo from the smaller Boeing 777-200LR that currently serves its daily route from Dubai.

Since it launched operations with the A380 in October 2008, Qantas has been using its 12 aircraft to support its flights to Los Angeles and London from both Melbourne and Sydney; the UK capital being served via Dubai having previously been flown via Singapore. It has also been using the type on the Sydney – Hong Kong route since January 2012, but scheduling changes designed to unlock more flying time, as unveiled in the Qantas Transformation Program in February this year have enabled the aircraft switch to Dallas.

“As part of our strategy to build a stronger Qantas, we’re reducing the amount of time our domestic and international fleet spend on the ground. Aircraft are one of our biggest fixed costs and maximising the amount of time they spend in the air is good news for our customers and for Qantas – especially when it comes to the A380,” said Alan Joyce, chief executive officer, Qantas Group.

“We have retimed A380 services between Melbourne and London to create a win-win for both our European and American networks. This schedule change unlocks more A380 flying time that we can use on the Dallas route, and now offers four times the number of onward connections to Europe because of the new arrival time of the Melbourne flight into Dubai,” he added.

Dallas is an important gateway for Qantas. It is the hub for its partner American Airlines which offers more than 30 destinations beyond the west coast of the United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico through its own network. The airline launched flights between Sydney and Dallas in May 2011 and currently utilises a Boeing 747-400ER on the route. The additional range of the A380 over the 747 it replaces will see the return service operate direct to Sydney rather than via Brisbane.

The introduction of the larger aircraft means Qantas reduce the frequency of the route from daily to six times weekly (every day except Tuesdays), but this represents a net increase of seats on the route by more than ten per cent per week. It will also result in the introduction of a First Class service on the route. “When you combine the A380 with the onward connections available from Dallas, this is a great example of the right aircraft on the right route,” said Joyce.

Fleet and network adjustments are earmarked to save up to $600 million over three years for the Qantas Group from the overall $2 billion cost reduction target that is at the centre of the airline’s turnaround plans. Increased aircraft utilisation and accelerated retirement of older, un-reconfigured B747s form part of this.

All six of Qantas International’s non-reconfigured 747s will be retired by the second half of 2016, ahead of its original schedule, leaving it with the nine reconfigured 747s it operates with the A380 standard interior. The airline says A330-200s will be freed up to enter the Qantas International fleet as replacement aircraft, helping to accelerate the retirement.

Last month Qantas announced a seasonal Perth - Auckland service that uses an A330-200 that previously spent weekends on the ground in Perth, when regular business travel demand is much lower. The A380 deployment to Dallas will be achieved by adjustments being made to the mix of A380s and 747s flying on the Sydney - Hong Kong route.

The Sydney – Dallas route will see the world’s largest passenger aircraft operating on the world’s longest route. Following the closure of Singapore Airlines’ flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York after its retirement of its A340-500 fleet, the Pacific connection took over as the longest commercial passenger route. In the table below we highlight the current top ten longest non-stop scheduled flights.

THE WORLD’S TOP TEN LONGEST NON-STOP SCHEDULED FLIGHTS

Rank

Airline

Origin

Destination

Range (km)

1

Qantas Airways (QF)

Sydney (SYD)

Dallas (DFW)

13,802

2

Delta Air Lines (DL)

Atlanta (ATL)

Johannesburg (JNB)

13,573

3

Emirates Airline (EK)

Dubai (DXB)

Los Angeles (LAX)

13,395

4

Saudia (SV)

Jeddah (JED)

Los Angeles (LAX)

13,385

5

Emirates Airline (EK)

Dubai (DXB)

Houston (IAH)

13,118

6

Emirates Airline (EK)

Dubai (DXB)

San Francisco (SFO)

13,013

7

Cathay Pacific Airways (CX)

Hong Kong (HKG)

New York (JFK)

12,965

8

Cathay Pacific Airways (CX)

Hong Kong (HKG)

Newark (EWR)

12,955

9

United Airlines (UA)

Newark (EWR)

Hong Kong (HKG)

12,955

10

Qatar Airways (QR)

Doha (DOH)

Houston (IAH)

12,925