Qantas Adding Two New U.S. Routes: San Francisco and Chicago – Brisbane

Earlier today the US government announced its approval for American and Qantas to join forces in an anti-trust immunized revenue-sharing joint venture across the Pacific. This is a very similar deal to the one that the Obama administration signaled their intention to reject.

With this news the combination is already announcing that they will announce two new routes:

  • Chicago – Brisbane
  • San Francisco – Brisbane

As part of the case put to the DOT, Qantas and American flagged an intention to launch several new routes within the first two years of the proposed joint business. Qantas expects to announce details of two new routes — Brisbane, Australia (BNE)–Chicago (ORD) and BNE–San Francisco (SFO) — once final approval is received.

Chicago – Brisbane would be the longest Qantas route from the U.S., 323 miles longer than Dallas Fort-Worth – Sydney. It would be the second longest route overall, 108 miles shorter than Perth – London Heathrow. That will make it the fourth longest flight in the world.

When plans for the joint venture were first announced, Qantas brought back San Francisco – Sydney. And without the joint venture having a clear path to approval they announced the addition of San Francisco – Melbourne. Adding San Francisco – Brisbane rounds out their route network from the city.

Brisbane is a slightly shorter flight than Sydney. When Qantas operated a Boeing 747 on the Dallas – Sydney route they used to make a fuel stop in Brisbane in one direction. It makes sense that Brisbane is where they launch Chicago service from. Air New Zealand of course already serves Chicago – Auckland.

The original joint venture proposal suggested American and Qantas together would launch three new routes. Already we’ve seen San Francisco – Melbourne. These round up to three. Although Dallas – Brisbane has also been speculated and something the Brisbane airport has openly talked about.

Brisbane Domestic – International Connections Bus

While Qantas generally can be a tough get for premium cabin award space the myriad flights they offer make it doable if you’re willing to connect. Two new routes will make that even more possible, and historically Los Angeles – Brisbane was one of the better flights for award space in any case.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Is there an expected dates for the approval and the schedule being released?

  2. Can someone explain to me why airlines continue to receive antitrust immunity for partner ventures? The antitrust immunity DL has kills us here in ATL. KLM, AF, KE, all have the exact same fares as DL. Before KE joined DL in their immunity, at least KE was significantly cheaper than DL to Asia. Now exactly the same. At a time where airlines enjoy the highest profits ever, how can the government justify this anti-trust immunity? Aren’t the anti-trust laws supposed to protect the consumers????? Anyone?

  3. Not sure I get this ORD route. If I’m flying SYD (or MEL) -ORD either way, there are far better connections that BNE. I just did it, and the the quickest most convenient way to get between termnals in BNE was a $12 cab ride. AT 7PM BNE time bus wait was 20 mins +. Great, you can go ORD-ASP one stop, but who cares? Connecting between terminals in SFO or LAX far easier.

    I get that there’s a range limitation from SYD/MEL to ORD. This just seems not ready for prime time.

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