Qantas dropping Boeing 747 from its Los Angeles services

24 Apr 2018 by Craig Bright
Qantas B747

Qantas’s Boeing 747 aircraft will cease flying on the airline’s Los Angeles services from December 3, 2018 when the aircraft is set to be replaced by either an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The change of equipment was announced as part of a raft of network changes that Qantas is set to introduce throughout the year, including frequency changes and upgauges on routes to Asia and North America.

As of December 4, the airline’s QF11/QF12 flights between Sydney and Los Angeles will be flown by an A380 superjumbo rather than a B747, meaning travellers will now have daily A380 options to choose from on services to Los Angeles from both Sydney and Melbourne.

These flights will also be joined by the airline’s seasonal twice-weekly QF17/QF18 flights on the same route, which will also see the A380 deployed during the peak months of December and January.

Qantas A380 flies over Sydney

The changes will mean that all of Qantas’s Los Angeles services will be operated by either A380s or B787s by the end of 2018. The airline previously debuted its Dreamliner on its Melbourne-Los Angeles route last year, and the aircraft has already been confirmed to take over the airline’s Brisbane-Los Angeles route from the B747-400 that currently flies it this September.

For now, the B747 appears set to instead fly the airline’s routes between Sydney and Honolulu and San Francisco. From December 7 until Easter, the B747 will replace the A330-300 on flights QF3/QF4 to Honolulu, providing travellers on the route with a premium economy offering during this period.

Meanwhile from December 17 onwards, Qantas’s QF73/QF74 between Sydney and San Francisco will get an extra service operated by the B747, resulting in daily service between the two cities.

Qantas has already made clear its plans to retire the B747-400 from its fleet as it makes room for its new B787-9 Dreamliners. Business Traveller reviewed the airline’s business class offering on board the aircraft on Qantas’s new Perth-London service last month.

Qantas business class on the B787-9 Dreamliner

Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco are not the only destinations set to get upgauges and frequency increases, though.

Starting October 28 this year, Qantas will be adding an additional Tuesday A330 flight on its QF19/QF20 Sydney-Manila service, bringing the route up to a daily operation. An extra A330 flight is also set to launch on the carrier’s recently launched QF33/QF34 Sydney-Osaka service on December 7, bringing this service up to four times a week.

Travellers on Qantas’s QF81/QF82 Sydney-Singapore route will also see a temporary upgauge to the A380 during the peak northern summer season. The superjumbo will replace the A330 that currently flies the route between July 5-13 and August 3-28.

“The adjustments to our network are part of our strategy of making the best use of our fleet and matching demand by having the right aircraft, on the right route, at the right time,” said a Qantas spokesperson.

“We’re already seeing strong demand for the end of year holiday period on our services to Los Angeles and Osaka, so we expect the extra capacity to be well received.”

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce at the launch of the airline's Sydney-Beijing service

However, there are some routes that are set to see frequency drop, notably the airline’s services from Sydney to Beijing and Dallas/Fort Worth.

From October 28 onwards, the airline’s QF107/QF108 Beijing service will drop from a daily to a five-times-weekly service, with the lower-demand Tuesday and Thursday flights being dropped.

The reduction of frequency on the route could be worrying. Qantas’s flights to Beijing only took off in January last year, marking the airline’s return to the Chinese capital after it dropped the route in 2009 due to dwindling passenger numbers.

Since the airline’s return to Beijing, a growing number of Chinese carriers have also begun flying new routes between China and Sydney, notably China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Tianjin Airlines.

Qantas’s decision to lower frequency on its QF7/QF8 Dallas/Fort Worth service is also alarming. Back in February, the carrier announced it could be forced to cut frequency or axe altogether its Dallas/Fort Worth service if its planned joint venture with American Airlines was once again refused approval by the US Department of Transportation.

Now Qantas has announced that from February 4, 2019 it will be reducing the daily A380 service to a six-times-weekly operation.

Travellers impacted by the changes will be reaccommodated on other services, the airline has stated, while tickets for new services will be made available progressively from today.

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