Boy, this sure has been the week for announcements on cool new flights from places in the US to elsewhere in the world. It started with an announcement from United Airlines about new service to Tahiti. At roughly the same time, Cathay Pacific was announcing new service between Hong Kong and Washington-Dulles.
Now, Qantas has announced new service between Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco. The route is scheduled to be operated on a 787, but we don’t have a start date for the new service.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner really is an incredible plane. I’ve loved it from the first time I got a chance to ride it to Asia. The economics of the plane open up all kinds of route opportunities for the airlines. You might have heard the term “long, thin route” thrown around in the past. That’s a route covering a long distance that doesn’t have a ton of demand. Flying a wide-body plane like a 747 would cover the distance but be too big and expensive to run on routes where they can’t fill the plane. Because the 787 is more fuel-efficient it can make these routes profitable for the airlines.
Qantas is notoriously stingy with award inventory, especially in premium cabins. You can redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles for flights on Qantas, and there might be some inventory at the outset of the route before it gets more popular. We’ll have to keep an eye on it.
What About The Joint Venture Between AA and Qantas?
View From The Wing raises a good question. Does launching new service like this make it harder for American and Qantas to move forward with their JV application? In some respects it might. They’re likely to have a friendly ear from the current administration if they want to advance it again. But, things have been awful quiet on that front.
The Final Two Pennies
New service is always exciting. In this case, it may be more of a shift from one airport to another. Qantas has shown willingness to move flights between LAX and San Francisco in the past. At any rate, folks in the Bay Area should be happy to see this flight. And, folks who have AAdvantage miles will hope that an SFO connection will give them a greater shot to use their miles to travel to Down Under.
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