Qantas is making aviation history today as the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the superjumbo A380, starts flying the world’s longest route — a non-stop trip lasting nearly 16 hours.
Well, it’s 14 hours 50 minutes to get from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, but a longer 15 hours 30 minutes to return.
Passengers travelling on the route are now privy to the glam and size of the increasingly popular A380 with Qantas operating six direct return services per week.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce says the move reflect the airline’s history of endurance, setting records and connecting Australians to the world.
“Today, Qantas is leading the way again with the introduction of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, with a flying time of almost 16 hours,” Mr Joyce said this morning at a media conference at Sydney Airport.
So what’s the attraction of arriving in the boot/scooting cowboy-laden city?
“Since starting on the route in 2011 the feedback from our corporate customers, especially those in the resources, technology and agricultural sectors, tells us they like flying into the Dallas hub because it gets them closer to their final destination in the US and offers great onward connections.
“The Dallas/Fort Worth service offers direct access right into the heart of the US with over 50 connections to all US major cities all within four hours, including Orlando, Boston and Houston.”
Qantas recently announced increased services to the US, and will now offer 41 services per week to North America. About half of these services are operated by A380 aircraft and the other half by B747s with A380-style interiors.
Mr Joyce said introducing A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth, which is the only direct flight from Australia to inland United States, would provide enhance the customer experience and boost capacity.
“We know our customers will value the comfort of the A380 on this route,” he said. “It’s also a vote of confidence in Qantas’s business going forward.
“Not only will the A380 increase seats on the route by more than 10 per cent each week, it will also provide us with greater fuel efficiency and the range to operate the return service direct back to Sydney.
“Our customers also now have the choice of four cabins to both Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth as we introduce our Marc Newson designed First Class Suites on the Dallas/Fort Worth route for the first time.”
The new A380 service will also create further opportunities for both tourism and trade between Australia and the US.
“Dallas/Fort Worth is home to our partner American Airlines, and it’s the perfect hub for both business and leisure travellers heading in either direction across the Pacific.”
Mr Joyce said the fall in the Australian dollar actually has a positive impact on its international business.
“Sure there is always an impact in fuel prices but luckily we have seen a decrease in fuel prices of late regardless.”
The world’s longest flights in distance include The Sydney — Dallas/Fort Worth leg at 8,578 miles (13,804km) followed by Delta’s Johannesburg to Atlanta at 8,439 miles (13,582km) and Emirates Dubai — Los Angeles at 8,390 miles (3,420km).
In 1989, Qantas operated the world’s longest non-stop delivery flight, when it flew a Boeing B747-400 from London to Sydney in 21 hours. Meanwhile Qantas holds the record for the longest regular commercial flight time-wise, set in 1944 from Perth to Sri Lanka.
The new flight replaces the current Boeing 747-400ER aircraft used on the route. The A380 will step up to a daily service over the 2014-2015 summer holiday season, from December 9 2014 to January 20 2015.