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In early June, American Airlines and Qantas received tentative approval for a joint venture for flights between the US and Australia and New Zealand. Shortly after that announcement — perhaps in an attempt to entice regulators to finalize the approval — Qantas teased that it would launch two new routes between Australia and the US once the joint venture application received final approval.
That final approval was granted last Friday, July 19. As part of the announcement, Qantas stated that the launch of the teased routes would be the “first order of business.” On Tuesday evening, Qantas loaded the new flights into its schedule.
The first Brisbane-Chicago flight will takeoff from Brisbane on April 20, 2020. Due to the time change, the inaugural flight from Chicago-Brisbane will also depart on April 20.
The Chicago-Brisbane route will operate four times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) on the following schedule:
- QF 85 — Brisbane (BNE) 3:30pm Departure ⇒ Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 4:10pm Arrival
- QF 86 — Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 9:50pm Departure ⇒ Brisbane (BNE) 6:10am+2 days Arrival
The flight from Chicago to Brisbane is scheduled for 17:20 hours, exactly matching the duration for Qantas’ flight from Perth to London Heathrow. That means that this new route will tie for Qantas’ longest route by flight time, although the Perth-London route (9,009 direct miles) slightly edges out the new Brisbane-Chicago route (8,901 direct miles).
Both the 8,901-mile distance and the 17:20-hour duration will make this flight the second-longest flight touching the US. The longest flight in both distance and duration is Singapore Airlines’ route between Singapore (SIN) and Newark (EWR). That route stretches 9,534 direct flight miles and is currently scheduled for 18:45 hours.
Qantas notes that the 85/86 flight numbers were intentionally chosen as a nod to 1985-1986 Chicago Bears — the first and most-recent year that the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl.
At the time of the launch, fares are starting at $1,404 round-trip in economy; $3,354 round-trip in premium economy and from $7,004 round-trip in business.
The San Francisco-Brisbane route will operate three times per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) starting Feb. 9, 2020 operating on the following schedule:
- QF 59 — Brisbane (BNE) 8:35pm Departure ⇒ San Francisco (SFO) 3:15pm Arrival
- QF 60 — San Francisco (SFO) 10:15pm Departure ⇒ Brisbane (BNE) 6:00am+2 days Arrival
Both routes are utilizing the airline’s new, efficient and long-range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner — which TPG has reviewed Qantas’ 787-9 in all three cabins:
- Business Class From Melbourne to Perth
- Premium Economy From Sydney to Melbourne
- Economy From Perth to London Heathrow
Featured image by James D. Morgan via Getty Images
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