Australian airline, Qantas Airways has said it will resume flights between Sydney and San Francisco after Australian authorities gave approval for an expanded codeshare arrangement with American Airlines.
The Australian national carrier will commence operation on the route from December 18, 2015, operating five-times-weekly, which will increase to six times per week from February 1, 2016.
The San Francisco flights have been made possible by American Airlines starting a direct daily Sydney – Los Angeles service, which will replace four of Qantas’ weekly flights on the same route, and one Melbourne – LA service.
The Boeing 747 aircraft Qantas use on these flights will instead be deployed on the Sydney – San Francisco service.
Qantas has previously said it wanted to resume flights to San Francisco, which it cut in 2011 to focus on a new hub at Fort Worth, Texas, but is needed clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to broaden its partnership with American Airlines.
On Thursday, the ACCC said it gave interim approval for that change since it "is likely to lead to additional capacity on the Sydney to Los Angeles route and increased capacity and competition on the Sydney to San Francisco route".
"This is likely to result in benefits to passengers that wish to use these services," ACCC Commissioner Jill Walker added in a statement.
The operation will depart Sydney at 15:00pm, arriving into San Francisco at 09:30am the same day. The return service will depart Northern California at 23:25pm, arriving back into Sydney at 09:00am the following day.
“The feedback from our customers since we announced the expansion of the Qantas and American Airlines alliance has been fantastic,” said Qantas International’s CEO, Gareth Evans. “They are thrilled we are returning to San Francisco, which is the most popular onward destination for Qantas’ customers travelling to the US.”
The only objector to the Qantas/American Airlines codeshare was Air New Zealand, as American also has plans to fly from Auckland to Los Angeles, which would break Air New Zealand’s monopoly on flights between the US and New Zealand.
Both Qantas and American Airlines have been through major restructures and are now looking for growth opportunities.
Qantas will have approximately 75 percent of the alliance’s capacity and American will have about 25 percent. The agreement also means American Airlines, which has 70 million frequent flyers, can now start marketing Australia to passengers in the United States.
About 900,000 passengers flew from from Australia to the US last year, but only 500,000 in the opposite direction.