Qantas planning on offering direct flights to New York from Australia’s East Coast

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The Boeing 777-8X is still under development. Source: Boeing

Qantas is said to be seriously considering offering a non-stop service between its main  hub of Sydney and New York’s JFK Airport, but don’t hold your breath, the option of adding a non-stop service will only be available once aircraft technology has been implemented which isn’t expected until early 2020s.

Speaking at a media luncheon, and as reported by Australian Business Traveller, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce confirmed that the airline is already sending 300 people a day on its own aircraft to New York plus additional passengers through its code-sharing arrangement with American Airlines. Those numbers already make a significant case for setting up a direct non-stop service, however the technology available in today’s aircrafts does not make it possible, however according to Australian Business Traveller that as soon as the technology is available the airline would go there straight away.

Whilst the numbers may make the case attractive from a financial point of view for the airline, the other side of the equation is whether or not passengers would actually want to endure what would be the world’s longest flight at over 19 hours non-stop. The case for premium market travel in the airline’s Business and Premium Economy cabins would be an easier pill to swallow, however travelling for that amount of time at the back of the plane is something else entirely.

Qantas Business class cabin on the A380.

I have spoken with a number of travellers who in fact prefer to have the flights broken up as it allows them to get out of the confines of the aircraft and stretch their legs, have a shower and a proper meal before re-joining the flight from Los Angeles to New York. This combined with the fantastic work Qantas has done in upgrading its own lounges in Los Angeles’ Tom Bradley International Terminal, makes the decision to drop the stopover much more difficult, in my opinion.

OneWorld Business Lounge at LAX

Another factor that would need to be considered by travellers when choosing a non-stop Australia to New York flight is that without a stopover in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Dallas customs and immigration clearing would be done in New York which after a 19hour flight could prove a major deterrent. Especially when compared to the relative ease of the current situation after the upgrades that Los Angeles Airport have made to its immigration processing. When I was travelling via Los Angeles in September this year, I made may way from seat to the curb waiting for transportation at LAX in only 17 minutes, and that included immigration, collecting baggage and clearing customs. This of course meant that when I landed in New York the following day I could just head straight to a waiting taxi and be on my way to Midtown even quicker!

On current schedules and aircraft performance Qantas is considering deploying the Boeing 777-8X on the non-stop flight from Sydney to New York. However with the delivery still half a decade away it would also mean a major restructure of the entire Qantas long-haul network and operation as Qantas has previously hinted that they 777X series could be a potential replacement of their current Airbus A380 as the flagship of the fleet.

In other Qantas news they have announced that they will be winding back their second (current) daily Sydney to Los Angeles flight, QF17, which is scheduled to become a 3 X weekly flight in January 2016, and will be removing it completely from their roster from April 2016.

The move will allow the airline to free up another Boeing 747 to hopefully increase the newly reintroduced Sydney to San Francisco service, which will hopefully ensure the availability of available seats across the Pacific and onto New York via its code-share partner American Airlines is not diminished. QF17 was a preferred flight with business and corporate travellers as it left Sydney later in the day (around 6pm) and arriving into Los Angeles in the early afternoon. It was however not as popular with passengers who were transiting through to America’s East Coast, including New York, as it meant a very late arrival into New York and other destinations. 

American Airlines Main Cabin. Source: American Airlines

The removal of flight QF17 comes at roughly the same time that Qantas’ OneWorld partner American Airlines has recommitted to the Sydney to Los Angeles route, and as recently as last week announced a further strenthening of their alliance with the introduction of a second trans-Pacific flight between Los Angeles and Auckland. This shows the continued strength of passengers numbers visitng both Australia and US, and inparticular the comments from Alan Joyce reconfirm that New York is one of Qantas’ main destinations of growth over the coming decade.

More Qantas news and information

  • Arriving into New York on Qantas: What you can expect
  • Qantas heading back to San Francisco
  • Flight review: Qantas flight QF93 Melbourne to Los Angeles A380 Economy
  • Flight review: Qantas Premium Economy from Sydney to Los Angeles on QF11

Would you consider flying to New York non-stop from Australia? Let me know your thoughts on Qantas planned new route.

Jase is the founder and editor of VisitingNewYork.com.au. His passion for New York runs deep, after purchasing a New York travel guide while in high school, it's been a love affair ever since. Having visited over 20 times for work and pleasure he decided to start VisitingNewYork.com.au to help other Aussie's who are planning their own New York adventure to ensure they get the most out of their trip to the greatest city in the world.

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