Qantas is set to launch direct flights from Brisbane to Chicago by the end of April 2020, which will become the fourth longest passenger flight in the world and the second-longest on the Qantas network following Perth-London.
Running four times per week, the 14,326km journey will take approximately 16½ hours and will be complemented by a new three-times-weekly Brisbane-San Francisco flight.
Passengers bound for Chicago will save more than six hours of travel time on a return trip versus flying via Los Angeles as they do today, with Brisbane-Chicago being the first and only non-stop flight to The Windy City from Australia.
As with the Perth-London Boeing 787 flights, Qantas will encourage travellers from other Australian cities to make the domestic hop to Brisbane and then embark on the long trans-Pacific leg.
"These new services will connect both Australian business travellers and holidaymakers with key centres of commerce, industry and culture in the United States," said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce at a media event in Brisbane.
Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO, adds, "relative to the size of the market and overall demand, Queensland has been under-served from the USA, and these new services will go some way to addressing pent up demand."
Qantas has previously indicated non-stop flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco would be launched as part of its joint venture with American Airlines, which earlier this month received approval from the US Department of Transportation.
The new trans-Pacific routes will run from Brisbane on a Boeing 787, although it's not yet known if these will be drawn from the second batch of six new Dreamliners due for delivery from late this year to late 2020, or if Qantas will re-assign some Dreamliners from existing routes to open up the new corridors.
Chicago will represent a valuable near-'monopoly route' for Qantas, although Air New Zealand began Auckland-Chicago flights in December 2018.
In addition to being an attractive destination in its own right, and the USA's third-largest city, Chicago also serves as a gateway to the mid-West and a hub for American Airlines, with over 500 daily departures including a high-frequency shuttle service to New York.
Joyce says that tickets for its flights from Brisbane to both new US destinations will go on sale "the minute that the US DOT gives their approval."