Qantas has resumed its nonstop route between Brisbane and Los Angeles for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flag carrier is operating a five-times-weekly service between the two cities using an A330-200 aircraft, with flights departing Brisbane at 1000, and the return leg leaving LAX at 1020.

In July last year Brisbane airport’s CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff warned that Australia risked being “left behind” by the international aviation sector.

Brisbane airport CEO: “international aviation sector may well leave Australia behind”

But speaking on the relaunch of US services from the airport he said that the return of flights to LAX was “another important step in restoring, and growing, Queensland’s direct connections with the world”.

“Being able to reconnect with the west coast of America after 24 long months is incredible news for Queensland, and I have no doubt the pent-up demand for travel, in both directions, will see these services fill quickly,” said De Graaff.

“California is the largest state source market for US visitors to Australia. These services will allow American visitors to begin their Australian trip in Brisbane before taking advantage of BNE’s extensive domestic network to visit the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays or other interstate destinations.

“The easy road connections between BNE and the Gold and Sunshine coasts also make this the ideal Australian entry point for travelling Americans.

“Qantas’ longstanding commitment to the state has always reflected its origins as a Queensland airline.

“Prior to the pandemic plans were well advanced on direct services to San Francisco and Chicago. We hope to see these plans become a reality once again, later this year. BAC looks forward to working with Qantas and Team Queensland to do just that.”

Last month Brisbane airport welcomed Emirates’ A380 aircraft for the first time in nearly three years, with the superjumbo replacing the carrier’s B777 on the daily service.

Emirates resumes A380 services to Brisbane,