Qantas launched direct services between Melbourne and San Francisco on 1 September. The route is set to be operated four times weekly with a 787-9 aircraft. Pictured are Qantas staff on a promotional shoot for the launch, taking the tram along on San Francisco’s famous hilly streets.
- Qantas launched year-round direct flights between Melbourne (MEL) and San Francisco (SFO) on 1 September . The 12,646-kilometre ultra-long-haul route will be operated four times per week using the carrier’s 236-seat 787-9 aircraft. The service will depart Melbourne at 9.40pm, arriving the same day into San Francisco at 7pm. The return flight will depart San Francisco at 10pm, touching down back in Melbourne at 6.30am two days later. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, there are no competitors on the route. Lyell Strambi, CEO, Melbourne Airport, stated at the launch: “This non-stop service demonstrates the strong demand to travel to this popular Californian city. The route also opens up the US market, and provides passengers with further connections into places like New York, Chicago, Seattle and beyond. With a population of 870,000 residents, San Francisco is regarded as one of the world’s most prominent tech hubs. It is home to the world’s most iconic internet giants including Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter. We feel fortunate to now be connected to one of the most important cities in the world for new technology start-ups via a direct air link.” The launch comes in a year where the Australian flag carrier has maximised the opportunities created by the long-and-thin route economics that the 787-9 provides; commencing the first non-stop services between Australia and the UK in March with the 14,500-kilometre Perth-London Heathrow route.