On the 3rd of December, 2013, Emirates took the crown with having the longest Airbus A380 route in the world — from Dubai to Los Angeles. The route is only 418 miles longer than the longest Qantas A380 route from the Melbourne to Los Angeles.
Qantas is fighting back with their recent announcement that they are going to take back the longest A380 flight crown, maintain the status of the longest commercial flight, and one-up Emirates.
Qantas has announced that their current Sydney to Dallas flight, which is also the longest flight in the world at 8578 miles, will be changing to a A380. So not only will Qantas get their longest A380 flight crown back, they also manage to keep the longest route in the world.
Previously, a Boeing 747-400ER operated this route, but as of the 29th of September, 2014, the route will be the A380’s domain. This will also signal another hit to Emirates, as Qantas will become the first operator to fly an A380 into Dallas, beating out Emirates by a mere one day!
“Dallas/Fort Worth has become an important hub for Qantas since we started flying there in 2011. Dallas is home to oneworld partner American Airlines and is conveniently located less than four hours from every major US city including Orlando, Boston, Houston, and (New York) LaGuardia, making it a perfect hub for our customers to Australia” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “This month marks the 60th anniversary of Qantas services to the US, so it’s an exciting time for us to launch A380 services from Dallas to Australia.”
On of the biggest changes with this new service is that the flight will no longer have a fuel stop in Brisbane on the return leg from Dallas to Australia. The A380 does not need this stop (although it does still need some weight restrictions just not as bad as the 747-400ER).
It also means that this will see the introduction of First Class for the first time since this route was introduced in 2011. The 747-400ER aircraft that currently operates the route are a three-class service (Business, Premium, & Economy) and will be replaced with four-class service (14 First, 64 Business, 35 Premium Economy, and 371 Economy) on the A380.
How are they able to free up an A380 to make this change? By changing up the flight times of the Melbourne to London flights, they can utilize more aircraft hours, avoiding a lengthy ground hold in LAX. So while they turn an aircraft around in London much quicker, it means they can add the DFW service six times a week. Although the new flights will see a drop in the Brisbane segment, and one less flight per week, Qantas thinks that they can make this work. I am sure they can look at further aircraft utilization and possibly free up enough to be able to get an extra day added.
With Qantas’s recent changes to try and save a considerable amount of money, will this see the end of the 747 in their operations? When this flight finishes in September, there will only be two 747 route to the US remaining (Sydney – Los Angeles – New York & Brisbane – Los Angeles) for the carrier. Could this be the death knell for the Queen of the Skies for the Flying Kangaroo in the USA? Or Is this just a way to bring a better onboard product & more capacity to a route that doesn’t get the press of its flashier cousins?