Qantas Debuts World’s Longest Flight

Qantas Customers traveling on the popular Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth journey will soon be able to enjoy the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, with an A380 replacing a B747 from September 2014. The previous record belonged to the Atlanta-Johannesburg Journey of Delta Airlines.

The A380 plane traveled from Sydney to Dallas on a flight that took 15.5 hours and covered 8,577 miles. The airline previously flew this route using the B747, a jaunt that timed out at about 16 hours. Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the new A380 service was the result of several scheduling changes designed to unlock more flying time, as flagged in February this year under the Qantas Transformation Program.  “As part of our strategy to build a stronger Qantas, we’re reducing the amount of time our domestic and international fleet spend on the ground,” said Mr. Joyce.

Aircraft are one of Qantas biggest fixed cost, and maximizing the amount of time they spend in the air is good news for customers and for Qantas. They have retired A380 services between Melbourne and London to create a win-win for both the European and American networks.

Dallas has become an important gateway for Qantas customers since they started flying there in 2011. It’s the hub for their partner American Airlines and offers more than 30 destinations beyond the west coast of the United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico on their network. “When you combine the A380 with the onward connections available from Dallas, this’s a great example of the right aircraft on the right route,” Mr. Joyce added.

The massive A380 has 484 seats on its upper and lower decks, including in first-class. Because of the plane change, this the first time that first-class is available on the Sydney-Dallas route. The aircraft carries 323,000 liters (about 85,000 gallons) of fuel. That’s equivalent to eight backyard swimming pools.

Fleet and network adjustments are earmarked to save up to $600 million over three years for the Qantas Group from the overall $2 billion cost reduction target that is at the center of the airline’s turnaround plans. Increased aircraft utilization and accelerated retirement of older, un-reconfigured B747 form part of this.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Qantas’ service to the US. In 1954, Qantas operated a Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America. Share your comments with us.