Qantas Airways launched its flagship Airbus A380 on the non-stop Sydney to Dallas-Fort Worth route today. It seems like an odd choice, because unless Australia has a big market for fans of 80s TV soapies starring Larry Hagman and Joan Collins, noone really wants to go to Dallas by choice. Qantas is the only carrier flying directly to Dallas.
But the move is about getting elsewhere in the US and targeting the more lucrative business class sector. The A380 has 64 business class seats plus 35 in premium economy. Dallas-Fort Worth is the world’s 3rd busiest airport and a key hub, with more than 50 codeshare connections via Oneworld partner American Airlines.
After axing the San Francisco route in mid-2011, Qantas maintained its Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth services, however, up until now the A380 was only used on the LA route. The Boeing 747, which was on the Dallas leg, is being phased out by the airline and the A380 not only increases capacity by 10%, it also gives the airlines a 17% per seat saving on fuel as CEO Alan Joyce struggles to rein in the airline’s avgas bill blow out and contain costs.
And it also means you can spend 15 hrs 35 mins on the world’s longest flight in the new first class suites if you have a lazy $15,000 one-way to spare (though you can pick up a first class sale ticket for the bargain price of $11,000).
Alan Joyce said the feedback from corporate customers was they wanted Dallas, “especially those in the resources, technology and agricultural sectors… because it gets them closer to their final destination”.
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