Qantas Chicago flights start 2020, is non-stop to Seattle next?

Qantas Chicago flights start 2020, is non-stop to Seattle next?

Qantas plans to begin non-stop flights from Brisbane to both Chicago and San Francisco by the end of April 2020, but that doesn't mean Seattle has been crossed off the list.

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller at the announcement of the direct Chicago flights, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce says there are potentially more US destinations to come.

“When we’ll start off, Brisbane-Chicago is four flights a week, and Brisbane-San Francisco is three flights a week. We’ll want to get to daily flights as fast as we can, and that will be our first priority,” says Joyce.

“We’re also very keen on other destinations in the US, and as we have more Boeing 787s coming, as we show that these (existing) routes make sense, we’ll be looking to further growth."

Seattle was widely considered as a Plan B should the US Department of Transport not agree to Qantas' proposed joint venture with American Airlines – a partnership now tentatively approved and awaiting the formality of a rubber stamp – and would see Qantas deepen its relationship with Alaska Airlines.

As home to technology giants such as Microsoft and Amazon plus 'satellite' offices of Silicon Valley-based companies like Google and Facebook, along with a wide range of start-ups, Seattle's tech cred is an obvious drawcard and comes second only to San Francisco as the USA's top tech market.

However, Seattle is also a refreshingly different US city with plenty of appeal in its own right; serves as a gateway to Canada via Vancouver; and anchors a sizeable cruise market into Alaska and tours through the Canadian Rockies, with several cruising and travel companies already booking blocks of seats on Air Canada flights between Australia and Vancouver.

As to why Chicago and San Francisco won over the likes of Seattle or Dallas/Fort Worth, Joyce explains: “We did a real review of all of the potential routes we could do (out of Brisbane) with American Airlines, and our partner Alaska Airlines.”

“We did the maths, we did the numbers on it, and we felt that Chicago and San Francisco are the two best routes for us.”

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

37 comments

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    18 Jun, 2019 06:34 am

    It is great to see QF diversifying it's old "Air Sydney" international model to finally share the love around its vast Australian network. SYD, MEL and BNE are their three largest network markets. The real challenge will be to extend this philosophy to Australian international gateways including PER, ADL and DRW where SE Asian carriers such as SQ, CX, CZ and MH are eating QF's lunch daily.


    With the eventual development of Project Sunrise running in parallel with the B787 strategy, one has to wonder if QF will at some time consider a non-stop MIA service from the East Coast? Or perhaps, greater emphasis on South Africa non-stops to JNB and CPT (Capetown)?

    Specialist routes such as these are some 5-8 years off at the earliest, but are those that could lead the way back to QF dominating the Australian international travel market. The new era of efficient smaller, long haul frames will upend the market in ways yet unimagined.

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  • levelnine

    levelnine

    18 Jun, 2019 08:55 am

    But Joyce has already stated the reason why BNE was chosen over SYD/MEL: distance.

    From the article: "Brisbane has an advantage: it’s closer to a lot more (US) destinations than Sydney or Melbourne, so that gives us the ability to do things like Dallas, or to do other cities in the States that we can’t do from any other state in Australia,” Joyce adds.

    Once Project Sunrise comes online and Qantas has the aircraft to do all these destinations from SYD/MEL, not BNE, it is unlikely that Qantas will continue to diversify beyond SYD/MEL. If anything, it is likely that there will be a shift back to SYD/MEL.
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  • PDR

    PDR

    18 Jun, 2019 09:10 am

    I'm not so sure about that. The Project Sunrise aircraft will seat about 300pax in a 4-class configuration, according to Joyce. That's nowhere as large as an A380 or even the B744ERs, so it won't require Qantas to funnel the same level of connecting traffic from BNE/ADL etc through SYD to fill the plane. And, the First Class configuration means it won't be suitable for a lot of destinations. As such, I suspect there will continue to be plenty of room for flights from BNE and other capitals.
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  • Paul Reynolds

    Sydney787

    18 Jun, 2019 07:36 am

    When will Alan Joyce buy more 787-9 ? Qantas has options for dozens and the 747 retires in 2020, Santiago and Johannesburg will require 787-9 too. With all the demands on the 787 fleet, it looks as the Red Roo will get more, perhaps when they order 777-8/9 Qantas will surprise us all.
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    sanj747

  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    18 Jun, 2019 07:54 am

    Welcomed news from Qantas but they will need a fleet of more than 14 787s to continue this expansion strategy.
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  • Albinoni1967

    Albinoni1967

    18 Jun, 2019 08:28 am

    Dear Allan Joyce, why only the USA, how about countries in Europe or even Asia, what are your new 787s only geared to fly to the USA and no where else.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    18 Jun, 2019 08:41 am

    The dispute with Perth airport is claimed to be the reason for no more flights from there to Europe at this stage.

    As for Asia QF has already upped capacity by sending A380s to Singapore again.

    QF would go with routes that stack up the best first then move on to less popular routes.
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  • moa999

    moa999

    18 Jun, 2019 11:22 am

    Simply put from Brisbane the 787 is too much of a plane (in size and range) for Asia - the 332/333 or possibly even the newly launched 321XLR is a better fit.
    And for Europe the 787 doesn't have the range, which is why Qantas is looking at Proj Sunrise
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  • Dan

    DanV

    18 Jun, 2019 11:52 am

    I suspect double daily (possibly triple on some days) on the BNE-SIN route on 321XLRs may be better suited as opposed to 1 widebody, with one of those flights ideally connecting to/from QF1/QF2.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    19 Jun, 2019 01:38 am

    The 787-10 is also good for Bris Asia to replace the A333s, with much the same seating. The A321XLR would be perfect for Canberra/Adelaide to Singapore et al.
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  • Adam T

    AT

    18 Jun, 2019 08:31 am

    As a fairly frequent Sydney base then via Brissy to Asia on QF, I wouldn’t mind booking via Brissy to USA either. But what would be great in future is single QF terminal to make transfers seamless. The bus transfer is ok at BNE but it’s still a bus transfer.
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  • moa999

    moa999

    18 Jun, 2019 11:25 am

    Can't see that changing - way too expensive to move the terminals.. long term BNE airport plan is for a monorail between the terminals, although id think the Heathrow style automated vehicles would be better
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  • Austline

    Austline

    18 Jun, 2019 11:55 am

    Mel based and having used BNE transfer from Intl to Dom and VV it's a pain, but in saying that if I am travelling to ORD it would have to be better than transferring in LAX.
    MEL is without doubt the best terminal for transfers in Aust. Just wish QF would sort out their Intl J lounge it gets worse every time I use it; food average, tables grubby, at times looks like it needs a good clean.
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  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    18 Jun, 2019 12:34 pm

    Absolutely agree about Melbourne being the best for transfers. Am Sydney based and did the Syd-Per onnecting onto QF9 to London which was also quite easy.
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  • Otto Van De Velde

    OttoV

    18 Jun, 2019 06:44 pm

    Well, Chris. A very interesting discussion with most of us on the same page. Can we expect an analysis from you as soon as the announcement is made? Cheers and thanks for providing the forum.
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  • Adam

    ads086

    19 Jun, 2019 06:37 am

    Is there a possibility that Brisbane could end up scoring US pre-clearance like Shannon and Dubai have? That would be an advantage for future US flights also.
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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    19 Jun, 2019 10:46 am

    Would JFK be beyond the reach of the 787 from Brisbane? If not, then I'd rather do transfer at Brisbane than LAX and have all the domestic traffic funnelled through Queensland. I'm guessing though the logistics don't work and QF will wait for the Sunrise project to deliver an aircraft that can.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    19 Jun, 2019 03:12 pm

    Chicago is at the very limit of its range. Much the same as Perth London but with less favorable winds
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  • David Key

    keyd82

    28 Jun, 2019 02:52 pm

    I think they should fly direct to Mexico, This would be so good for easy access into Central America,
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  • Anna80

    Anna80

    28 Jun, 2019 02:54 pm

    I'm really crossing my fingers for Seattle! No more LAX stopover, trudging between terminals and putting up with some fairly average lounges, and trying to get the timing right between the inbound Qantas flight and the onwards Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle. I'd much prefer to fly top Brisbane, pop over to the international terminal, enjoy the very good Qantas BNE lounge, step onto the Dreamliner and then, next stop Seattle!
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  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    28 Jun, 2019 03:12 pm

    Non-stops are my preference, however in the meantime, ANY new route introduced that removes LAX as an intermediary step is a move forward.

    If I have to go to BNE first to catch the flight, so be it.
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  • Robert Bird

    PG1

    28 Jun, 2019 03:14 pm

    Great thinking ads086 ..... I recently did a YVR-LAX flight and pre-cleared US customs in YVR. Got to LAX, hopped off the plane and walked out. Fantastic.

    Imagine pre-clearing in Oz, arriving at LAX and being able to take some fast track lane through customs ..... heaven on a stick !!

    Should be part of Project Sunrise considerations
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  • MELflyer

    MELflyer

    28 Jun, 2019 03:25 pm

    Now that Air Canada is flying Melbourne-Vancouver this is actually my preferred way to Seattle, I don't mind a little bit of back-tracking and I'd rather transit at Vancouver than LAX any day.
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  • Otto Van De Velde

    OttoV

    28 Jun, 2019 03:39 pm

    If QF 09 and QF 10 can manage Perth and back from LHR, I would love to see a direct flight to and from Paris’ CDG using the B787. Given the developing commercial nexus with AF/KLM, it would appear a logical step and favoured by many Aussie francofiles.
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  • Sparksy

    Sparksy

    28 Jun, 2019 03:49 pm

    Qantas is ready to do Perth-Paris, has been banging on about it for a long time, but there's a bit of a barney between Qantas and Perth Airport which is holding things up.
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  • Sparksy

    Sparksy

    28 Jun, 2019 03:57 pm

    I just checked the distances and actually a Boeing 787 to Seattle wouldn't have to fly from Brisbane, it could manage it from Sydney, and as Sydney will be a Boeing 787 base once the new jets arrive from the end of this year this would work very well. MEL-LAX is 7,921 miles but SYD-SEA is only 7,800 miles. This would be even better because Sydney is by far the larger market and would mean fewer passengers having to transit at Brisbane.
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  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    28 Jun, 2019 04:06 pm

    Ah yes, but a true Sydney response.

    For others not living in Sydney, a BNE transfer, while not ideal, is far more palatable to many than a SYD one.
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  • Mal

    Mal

    28 Jun, 2019 04:10 pm

    Aren't they both about as painful? At least with a Qantas transfer in Sydney you can do it from T3, you don't have to leave the terminal to catch the bus.
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  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    28 Jun, 2019 04:15 pm

    I don't fly as often as many on here YMMV, but I find the terminals less crowded, the lounges less crowded, more modern and cleaner and a less intense vibe.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    28 Jun, 2019 03:53 pm

    Readers are reminded to keep their comments on topic (which is, at its core, the prospect of non-stop flights to Seattle, and by extension other non-stop routes which Qantas may launch, especially from Brisbane and/or on the Boeing 787) and to have their comments add value to this conversation. Comments which fail to tick those boxes are subject to being edited or deleted.
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  • John Macaulay

    John Macaulay

    28 Jun, 2019 04:00 pm

    Once again from Perth better choices with Singapore. Given up on retaining Platinum- most of my flights are to US. Welcome back the direct Singapore NYC flights
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  • Mal

    Mal

    28 Jun, 2019 04:14 pm

    Not sure what has SQ and New York got to do with this, but while we're on that subject, I find the best way to go to NY is with Cathay Pacific. Happy to avoid LAX, don't have to collect and recheck my bags, great lounges at HKG and great business class all the way through. I tried the SQ flight but it was just a few hours too long for my liking. I think I get to 16 hours and that's my limit!
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  • Austline

    Austline

    28 Jun, 2019 04:15 pm

    I live in Victoria and would much prefer to transit via Sydney; ease of airside transfers and great lounges. With arrivals BNE, immigration is crowded in the AM, the bus can be crowded and, would not even know how to use the train!
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  • Jeff Rotman

    jeff2257

    28 Jun, 2019 07:49 pm

    Interesting the options that Qantas are looking at as I am really surprised that Qantas does not consider direct flights from Adelaide to the West Coast of the US. There is still a lot of traffic going via Melbourne & Sydney and I would have thought with the smaller B787 it would be on the cards. Unsure why Qantas continues to snub Adelaide for all international flights on its own metal!!!!
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  • James Barker

    James Barker

    28 Jun, 2019 08:34 pm

    I doubt there's enough traffic from Adelaide to support flights to say LAX, if there was then Qantas would probably have started those flights already.
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  • Markie Mark

    Markie Mark

    28 Jun, 2019 10:36 pm

    QF will announce 4 additional 787’s in August.
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  • Herman  G

    mancho90

    29 Jun, 2019 11:49 pm

    With all these announcements I think QF should act immediately to have YVR in the list for all year around flights or at least a longer season than a month as it's today....I was trying to book something in January to fly 747 but the days I want most if it's business is full for YVR-SYD. Also AA should stop their pretentious actions and talk again with AK and WS for Codeshare /joint venture agreements to cover North America in better way for oneworld.
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16 Jul, 2019 02:49 pm

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