Qantas Proposes Two New US-Australia Routes — Here’s What Needs to Happen First

Jun 4, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Monday morning, the US Department of Transportation announced a tentative approval of a joint venture partnership between American Airlines and Qantas. Now, Qantas and American Airlines have issued a joint press release on the matter.

In celebration of the news, Qantas announced two new (hopeful) routes to the US. In order to entice US regulators toward final approval of the joint venture, Qantas and American Airlines co-announced that “once final approval is received,” the following US–Australia routes would be launched within the first 2 years:

  • Chicago (ORD) to Brisbane (BNE)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Brisbane (BNE)

Qantas service to Chicago has only been discussed as part of Project Sunrise. That’s Qantas’ ambitious project to launch ultra long-haul flights between eastern Australia and far-flung destinations such as New York, London, Rio de Janeiro and Paris. The only thing that’s missing is a plane that can fly that far, but both Airbus and Boeing are working on producing an aircraft that could fit Qantas’ needs.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

At 8,901 miles, Brisbane to Chicago would be a very long flight — but not Qantas’ longest flight. That record is currently held by Qantas’ flight from Perth, Australia (PER) to London’s Heathrow (LHR). At just over 9,000 direct flight miles, the Perth-London route currently ranks as the world’s third-longest commercial airline route.

Brisbane-Chicago would be the fourth-longest flight in the world behind Singapore (Airbus A350-900ULR) from Singapore to Newark, Qatar (Boeing 777-200LR) from Doha to Auckland and Qantas’ Perth-London route. Meanwhile, Brisbane (BNE) to San Francisco (SFO) is significantly shorter at 7,063 direct flight miles.

Business class board Qantas' 787-9. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)
Business class board Qantas’ 787-9. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

The tentative announcement of these routes doesn’t state which aircraft would be utilized. However, based on Qantas’ current long-haul fleet — and scheduled retirement of the Boeing 747-400 from US routes — it’s likely that at least the Chicago route would utilize the airline’s Boeing 787-9. TPG has reviewed Qantas’ 787-9 in all three cabins:

Even if you don’t intend to fly either of the new routes, American Airlines loyalists have plenty to root for. The two airlines have stated that the joint business would enable a deeper integration of each carrier’s frequent flyer program, “including higher earn rates for points on each other’s networks beyond what is possible today through oneworld, as well as increased redemption opportunities and improved reciprocal end-to-end recognition of our top-tier frequent flyers.”

That’s in addition to an expanded codeshare relationship and optimized schedules on transpacific services, which promises more connections to more destinations and reduced total travel time. Plus, Qantas and AA members would get improved access to seats on each carrier’s network, as well as “investments in lounges, baggage systems and other infrastructure designed to better serve the carriers’ joint customers.”


Featured image on Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 courtesy of the airline.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.