The US government has granted final approval to Qantas and American Airlines’ joint-venture partnership that could offer passengers an array of benefits, including new routes, more destinations, better schedules and additional benefits for frequent flyers, according to both airlines.
Qantas and American Airlines said they welcomed the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) approval of the joint business agreement in press releases on their websites.
“The joint business will allow Qantas and American Airlines to further deepen our longstanding partnership with the first order of business for Qantas to introduce two new routes from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco,” Qantas said.
These two new routes from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco will operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. They will launch by the end of April 2020, and will add 170,000 seats across the Pacific each year, according to Qantas.
The Australian flag carrier will fly directly for the first time to Chicago, the third largest city in the US. As one of the major domestic hubs of American Airlines, Chicago will give Qantas access to 30 additional unique one-stop destinations from Australia. The four-times-weekly service is expected to be the fourth longest passenger flight in the world and the second longest in Qantas’ network, with a flight time of around 16 hours and 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Qantas will fly from Brisbane to San Francisco three times a week. The estimated flight time will be 12 hours and 40 minutes.
A Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific in June that the seating configuration will be 42 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration, 28 in premium economy class in a 2-3-2 configuration, and 166 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The schedules for the flights are currently being finalised, according to Qantas’ press release.
Qantas and American Airlines will also add codeshare services to more of each other’s existing international flights between Australia and the US. Customers will be able to purchase these codeshare flights “in coming days”, Qantas said. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has contacted Qantas to ask for a more specific date as to when the codeshare flights will be available for purchase.
The DoT granted “tentative approval” to the joint business in early June this year. In February 2018, the two airlines re-filed their application to form a joint business after their first application was rejected by the DoT in 2016.
Joint business agreements allow airlines to share revenue on designated routes and potentially offer passengers a greater variety of fares and flights. Other benefits could even include the launching of new routes, better flight schedules, and broader access to airport lounges.