Monday, July 22, 2019

Qantas set to launch longest flight ever from Chicago

American Airlines and Qantas, Australia’s flagship airline, have successfully completed final step in the long process of launching nonstop service between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Qantas’ new hub for international service in Brisbane, Australia (BNE).

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) gave its final approval to the proposed joint business agreement between Qantas and American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier. Both airlines are members of the OneWorld global airline alliance.

That DOT final approval clears the way for Qantas and American to jointly orchestrate the launch of new routes between Australia and the United States.

As a Qantas spokeswoman previously indicated, one of the first new routes to launch will be a nonstop flight from ORD to BNE, which would instantly become the longest flight ever from Chicago. The second new route would be from San Francisco to Brisbane.

The ORD-BNE launch will be a watershed moment for Qantas. The airline will then have a new United States gateway in the Midwest, making it easier and faster for tens of thousands of travelers from the immediate region and the nation’s East Coast to access Australia.

It was previously revealed that the new ORD-BNE service is expected to launch by April of 2020, and a Qantas spokeswoman reached on Monday said the exact launch date will be revealed "in a matter of days," adding "there are a lot of moving parts related to this announcement."

An American Airlines spokeswoman on Monday signaled it will be up to Qantas to set the ORD-BNE launch date, as a Qantas plane, most likely a wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, will fly the new longest-route-ever from Chicago.

AA CEO Doug Parker clearly is eager to see the historic new ORD-BNE route happen.

"We now have the opportunity to launch new routes and provide enhanced service with better schedules, additional frequent flyer benefits and continued investments in the overall customer experience," Parker said. "We look forward to working closely with our valued partner Qantas."

American Airlines has its third-largest hub at O’Hare Airport.
 

(Lewis Lazare - Chicago Business Journal)

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