Qantas will boost services between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and between Sydney and Santiago, from early 2015, and introduce a new schedule providing the flexibility of morning, midday and evening departures between Australia and the US.
From 21 January next year, Qantas will increase its Melbourne to Los Angeles service from a daily service to ten per week and from 20 February will increase its Sydney to Santiago service from three to four per week.
Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said Qantas is the lead carrier for Australians travelling across the Pacific, with an extensive flight schedule and premium customer experience on-board its A380 and B747 aircraft.
“The US is one of our most important markets and we will now offer our customers 45 return services per week to North and South America,” said Mr Hickey.
“We have also adjusted our flying schedule to be the only airline to offer customers the convenience of a morning, midday or evening departure from Australia to the US, which we know is important for both our business and leisure customers.
“It also means improved options for same day arrivals into the US for our customers connecting from all capital cities, regional Australia and New Zealand. For our Queensland customers, it offers a new one-stop service to New York via the Los Angeles gateway while still providing excellent connections for our Sydney and Melbourne customers to New York.”
The new services are the result of some schedule adjustments across the Pacific allowing for increased B747 flying time, one of the key elements of the Qantas Transformation Program announced earlier this year.
“As part of our strategy to build a stronger Qantas, we’ve introduced a new approach to aircraft utilisation so we can take advantage of opportunities in the market. It means adjusting our schedules across the network to ensure our fleet spend less time on the ground and more time in the air, as we have done with our new A380 Dallas service starting next month,” added Mr Hickey.
“Aircraft are one of our biggest fixed costs so we continue to look for opportunities across our network to generate revenue and increase services for our customers.
“This new schedule also builds on 25 supplementary services to the US and South America over the Christmas holiday period. The new schedule also enhances connections for our customers right across the US,” added Mr Hickey.
Customers connecting through to destinations across central and eastern parts of the United States will now have three options from Sydney – a morning and evening service to Los Angeles, and afternoon service to Dallas/Fort Worth.
Mr Hickey said the new trans-pacific schedule continues to deliver on the airline’s strategy to fly into major international gateways, offering customers more connections with codeshare partners and a seamless flying experience.
“We recently announced new codeshare services with our partner LAN from Santiago to six destinations across South America and will now operate A380 services to both Dallas and Los Angeles, connecting with codeshare partner American Airlines to more than 100 destinations across North America.
Adjustments will be made to the timing of some of our flights across the Pacific in order to facilitate the improved schedule options for our customers.
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 centre of the airline’s turnaround plans. Increased aircraft utilisation and accelerated retirement of older, non-reconfigured B747s form part of this.
These changes come in a year of the 60th anniversary of Qantas services to the US. In 1954, Qantas operated a Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.