Australia: Qantas Dreamliners put new North American destinations within reach
A key hub for Australian air freight has received a boost this week after airline Qantas announced it would base half its new fleet of ultra-long range passenger aircraft in the Queensland capital of Brisbane.
In an announcement, Qantas said the first Dreamliner would arrive in Brisbane in mid-2018 with the remaining three to be in place in the subtropical city by the end of next year.
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk highlighted the deal would bring 470 jobs, with the four Dreamliners worth AUD$1 billion collectively.
"It will put Brisbane in range of direct flights to cities including Dallas, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Chicago and Seattle, opening up new markets for business and tourism," Palaszczuk said.
In a release, Qantas highlighted the new generation of aircraft would not only open up the possibility of direct flights to new North American destinations, but also new potential routes in Asia.
"We’ve said that initially our Dreamliners will replace the routes that our older 747 fly but there are also new destinations we are looking at given the capability of the aircraft," said CEO Alan Joyce.
"A range of exciting options is on the table that will help drive tourism to the state and we look forward to making that decision in coming months.
"I’d like to acknowledge the support of the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation and Tourism Australia for helping to make our Brisbane Dreamliner base a reality."
Qantas operates 58 return, direct international services each week from Brisbane to Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Noumea, Port Moresby, Singapore and Tokyo.
The airline also operates more than 620 return services from Brisbane per week to 25 destinations across its domestic network and more than 390 return services per week to 20 destinations within Queensland.
In December 2016 Qantas announced that the airline’s first four in its fleet of eight Dreamliners would be based in Melbourne, serving the Melbourne – Los Angeles route from December 2017 and the Melbourne – London (via Perth) route from March 2018. This is the world’s first service to link Australia directly with the U.K.
Brisbane is home to the Steritech irradiation facility which has been the centerpiece for new fruit export protocols into markets including the United States, with key crops including mangoes and litchis.
The state is also a producer of early season easy peeler citrus, table grapes and avocados.