QANTAS Airways (Sydney) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its first trans-Pacific services to the USA.
On May 15, 1954, a 60-passenger QANTAS Airways Lockheed 1049C Super Constellation aircraft departed Sydney for San Francisco and Vancouver. The journey to San Francisco took around 30 flying hours and involved fuel stops at Fiji, Canton Island and Hawaii.
QANTAS named this the Southern Cross Route in honor of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew who made the first flight in 1928.
QANTAS International CEO Simon Hickey said the sixty year milestone highlighted Qantas’ ongoing commitment to the USA.
“QANTAS is proud of its flying history to the US. Some of our most historic moments have been on the trans-Pacific route including the start of the jet age in 1959 with our first Boeing 707 services and introducing the largest commercial passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, on the route in 2008,” said Mr Hickey.
“The milestone comes in a year where QANTAS is investing significantly in the customer experience to the US, including the opening of our new First and Business Lounges in Los Angeles and the introduction of A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Ft. Worth from September.
The airline first established itself in North America in San Francisco in 1954, when it took over the operations of British Commonwealth Pacific Airline in September 1947.
This year also marks thirty years since QANTAS Airways began nonstop flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles beginning in April 1984. These services were operated by the long-range Boeing 747SP (above) with a flying time of around 16 hours. Today, the flying time is around 13 hours.
QANTAS is the only carrier to operate A380 services between the US and Australia.
QANTAS flights to the USA include:
Direct daily Airbus A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles
A daily Boeing 747-400 service from Sydney to New York via Los Angeles
A direct daily Boeing 747-400 service from Brisbane to Los Angeles
Three Boeing 767-300 services per week between Sydney and Honolulu and;
A daily Boeing 747-400 from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, which will move to a six per week Airbus A380 service from September 29.
Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The pictured Boeing 747SP-38 (Special Performance) VH-EAA (msn 22495) was handed over to QANTAS on January 19, 1981. VH-EAA is pictured over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State in the original 1970 color scheme.
Yes, Quantas has been in the long haul, Aus-US market for a very long time, perhaps a subset of bread & butter routes for them – sometimes. They have stuck with it even when their costs have soared. I can easily imagine that their bean counters look forward to more 773s and A380s joining their fleet, so that they can retire the 744s that still carry the majority of their loads. (Nothing wrong with the 744, but it is a bit spendy to operate!) Hard and soft upgrades to the 744 fleet have been minimal and who can blame them? As they gain more 773 and A380s, Quantas will have more ‘wiggle room’ to make enhancements to their soft product. Hmm. While Quantas has never led the soft side, they’ve also never been at the bottom. One can only help that the efficiencies of their renewed fleet will embolden them to embrace better creature comforts, especially including cabin service and meals. Even with the best of schedules, those Aus-US routes can be brutally long. Quantas may fly these routes with augmented crews, but their pax do not have that option. Soft products aimed at reducing fatigue and jet-lag can only help their clients return to normal productivity far sooner after landing. Their Aus-US routes may not be the longest in the market, but they are close. I think they are trying and I wish them well.
On the flip side, their ‘equal access’ competition from US carriers is not even in the same race. Smart long haul flyers have known for years that when given a choice, the ‘foreign’ carrier will probably provide the better experience. While not *always* true, a carrier with 60 years experience on these routes is a good bet. (And why U.S. carriers still do not get the message is beyond my understanding.)
Even if a promo, thanks for the great post.
The 747SP if operated nonstop LAX-SYD/v.v. was same as current aircraft!
Yes, it was the long-range aircraft of its time.